Jesus, Better than the Angels
Paul Corona preaching on Hebrews 1:4-2:4
August 09, 2022
Our Present Relationship to Sin
1John 1:8-9 Big Idea: In order to walk properly before the Lord, in sanctification we must understand that we still have sin, although it is no longer who we are, and therefore we are to be continually confessing our sin before the Lord as he continually cleanses us from the power and penalty of our sin. Our _______________________ to Sin 1 John 1:8 (ESV) — 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Romans 7:7-24 Sin is _______________-law of God. Sin is not just the opposite of the law it is actually opposition to the law. Sin is the compelling force of the fallen nature to do that, which is contrary to the law. Sin is not only a breaking of the law, it is the desire to break the law. Sin is the penchant for un-godliness. Romans 8:7 (ESV) 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. The battle of the Christian life is the fight between what we once were in our sinful fallen nature, and what we now are in our re-newed and re-generated nature in Christ. Philippians 2:3–5 (ESV) 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, The __________________ to Sin 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Homo-legomen: In confessing our sins we are accepting and evening voicing true reality, reality as God defines it. Ephesians 4:20–24 (ESV) 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Romans 6:13–14 (ESV) 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. This is how we grow in Christ. We progressively further ourselves from who we were in Adam and come to embrace more and more, who we are in Christ. Questions to Consider What is our ongoing relationship to sin? How does our new nature in Christ combat the fallen nature of the old man/flesh? What is confession? What might confession look like in your life? In what ways are you denying the reality of God as it is revealed in Scripture? How might you repent and turn to Christ? What is our only hope for sanctification in this life? How are you trusting in the power of the gospel to free you from the old man? What tools has God given us to re-inforce His reality in our minds and hearts? How are you utilizing these tools?
August 09, 2022
Walking in the Light
1John 1:6-7 Big Idea: As we walk in the light of God’s Word, we enjoy fellowship with Christ and see the power of his blood continually purify our lives of the deeds of darkness. Fellowship with God is ________________, _______________ participation in the work of Jesus on our behalf. Three reasons for this definition; The _______________________ of the word Fellowship 1John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. Acts 2:42-47 Koinonia: an intimate and personal sharing in one another’s lives; an active, ongoing practice of love and dependence upon the community of Christ. The ___________________/_________________ Nature of Fellowship If we say we are having (present active) fellowship with him while we are walking (present active) in darkness, we are lying (present middle) and are not practicing (present active) the truth, but if we are walking (present active) in the light, as he is in the light, we are having (present active) fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son is cleansing (present active) us from all sin. The life of Christ will absolutely manifest itself in a believer’s life but it will not be in deeds of darkness, in will be in the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:16–25 (ESV) — 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. The _____________________________ Effect of Fellowship with God 1 John 1:7 (ESV) — 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 (NIV) — 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. The second result of walking in the light is that the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. The verb suggests that God does more than forgive; he erases the stain of sin. And the present tense shows that it is a continuous process. But what sin needs to be cleansed if we walk in the light? Alford, aware of this difficulty, insists that here and in verse 9, cleansing indicates ‘sanctification distinct from justification’… This being so, the reference here must be to cleansing not from deliberate sins but either from ‘every sin’ (niv mg), even those committed unconsciously, or, as may be suggested by the use of the singular sin, from the defilement of our fallen nature. The good news of Christ is not only that he does away with the penalty of your sin, but that he continually and constantly deals with the power of your sin, as you turn to him, in repentance and faith, and walk in His light.
August 09, 2022
Fellowship for Our Joy
1John 1:3-4 Big Idea: John’s letter is full of purpose. God’s desire is that we would find our ultimate Joy in Jesus as we pursue participation in his life-giving Spirit and obey God from Jesus’ power and ability. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) — 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. __________________ of Joy At the heart of John’s message is the fullness of our joy in Jesus. Pleroo: If joy is internal instead of external, then our joy is settled, even when we lose our external blessings or our external circumstances are difficult. John 15:11 (ESV) — 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. Matthew 6:19-21, 24 John 12:25 (ESV) — 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. ______________________ with Jesus 1 John 1:3 (ESV) — 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. To have fellowship with Jesus is to participate in the life of Jesus and to participate in the life of Jesus is to have our joy filled in Him. 1 John 2:3 (ESV) — 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 1 John 2:5–6 (ESV) — 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. We experience fellowship with Jesus as we are called on to obey Christ’s commands. This is not because in keeping God’s commandments we in some way earn God’s favor. It is because it is only by Jesus’ life in us that we can obey God’s commandments, therefore every time we are called upon to act in a way that Jesus would act we have to draw from his presence in our inner-man in order to act that way. Our fellowship with Christ does not depend on our obedience, our obedience depends on our fellowship with Christ. Our obedience to Christ is not the grounds for our fellowship with Christ, our participation in the life of Christ is the grounds for our obedience. Questions to Consider Have you attached your joy to anything in this world? If so, what happens if you lose that thing? What is a better source for your joy? What does it mean to have fellowship with Jesus in obedience? In what ways is Christ calling you to obey? How might you depend on his ability in you to fulfill his commands?
June 02, 2022
The Written Word of Life
1John 1:4 Big Idea: God providentially preserved the teachings and proclamations of the Apostles and the Prophets in the Scripture. Who Speaks for Jesus? The Prophets and the Apostles are the given means by which God communicates his plan of redemption and preserves the testimony of his Son Jesus Christ who is the final word to men concerning our salvation from sin. _________________ do they Speak? What is inscripturation? Inspiration is a supernatural influence upon divinely chosen prophets and apostles whereby the Spirit of God assures the truth and trustworthiness of their oral and written proclamation. Historic evangelical Christianity considers the Bible as the essential textbook because, in view of this quality, it inscripturates divinely revealed truth in verbal form. The __________________ of the Written Word of God 1John 1:4 And we are writing these things… Graphē… which in secular Gk. meant simply ‘a writing’ (though sometimes an authoritative writing in particular), is in the NT appropriated to ‘the Scriptures’ in a technical sense some 50 times, in most cases unmistakably the OT. Associated with graphē is the formula gegraptai, ‘it is written’, occurring some 60 times in the NT, and found in Greek usage for legal pronouncements (cf. A. Deissmann, Bible Studies2, 1909, pp. 112ff.). Luke 24:44–47 (ESV) — 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 2 Timothy 3:14–17; 2 Peter 1:16–21, 3:1-2, 15-16 God speaks to us through his written Word. The __________________ of the Written Word of God 3 Tests for Authenticity: ___________________ of manuscripts: ___________________ of manuscripts: ___________________ of manuscripts: What is at stake? Questions to Consider: Are the Scriptures authoritative? Are they authentic? Why does this matter to you? Is it important that we have an accurate account of the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets? Why or why not?
June 02, 2022
Witness to the Word
1John 1:2-3 Big Idea: John and the Apostles are the official witnesses of Jesus’ earthly ministry and therefore are the authoritative means by which God speaks to us in the church. ________________ Speaks for Jesus? “The proper conception of inspiration holds that the Holy Spirit acted on the writers of the Bible in an organic way, in harmony with the laws of their own inner being, using them just as they were, with their character and temperament, their gifts and talents, their education and culture, their vocabulary and style. The Holy Spirit illumined their minds, aided their memory, prompted them to write, repressed the influence of sin on their writings, and guided them in the expression of their thoughts even to the choice of words.” –Louis Berkhof The Prophets and the Apostles are the given means by which God communicates his plan of redemption and preserves the testimony of his Son Jesus Christ who is the final word to men concerning our salvation from sin. ____________________ witnesses 1John 1:2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— The proper sphere of the terms (martys) is the legal one, e.g., in trials or legal transactions. What is signified is personal testimony to events, relations, persons, etc. Luke 8:33–36 (ESV) — 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned. 34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told (reported) it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told (reported) them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. For John, that which was manifested to him—the Word of Life—became the basis for his proclamation of truth. His privileged life in the presence of the Lord Christ was not a private experience to elevate him above others who were not so blessed, as if he were somehow one of God’s “favorite sons.” Rather, his privilege became the platform for his responsibility and mandate, as an apostle and eyewitness, to bear witness (testify) of the truth (John 20:30–31; 21:24; cf. 1:41–42; 2 Cor. 5:14–15) and proclaim the gift of eternal life in Him (cf. Ps. 145:11–12; 1 Cor. 2:2; 9:16) to those, including his readers, who had never seen Jesus. Because of his widespread reputation as one who had been with Jesus as an apostle (cf. John 1:14, 16–18, 37–51), John was a true and credible witness (John 19:35–37). Other New Testament books written by apostles or their associates also present eyewitness accounts of Jesus and the truth of the gospel. The other Gospels do that (cf. Luke 1:1–4), as does the book of Acts (cf. 1:1–3) and the epistles (e.g., 2 Peter 1:16–21). Acts 1:12-26; John 15:26-27 The Spirit and the Apostles in one confirm who Jesus Christ is in the hearts of men. ____________________________ with the Father and Son 1 John 1:3 (ESV) — 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. Koinonia: We have the privilege of seeing and hearing and even witnessing, although second hand, the person and work of Jesus because of the Apostles. Questions to Consider Who has the authority to speak on God’s behalf? Why? Is comforting to know that the writings of the Apostles and Prophets are the only way that God speaks today? What does this mean concerning your relationship to the Bible? How might you spend more time with Jesus knowing this reality?
June 02, 2022
Jesus, the Better Messenger
Paul Corona preaching on Hebrews 1: 1-3
May 17, 2022
The Word Became Flesh
Big Idea: John introduces us to the subject of his epistle. It is the Word of Life, who was from the beginning. This eternal one, takes on flesh and dwells among men. Jesus is the presence of God on earth, the God-man, two distinct natures in one person. Establishing the ________________ of Jesus Physical Body 1John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— The fact that Christ was really in the flesh, that He was no phantom, no shadow mocking the eyes that looked upon Him, is exceedingly important. Hence John… begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who in His eternity was from the beginning, was really a substantial man, for he says, “We have heard” (hearing is good evidence); “We have seen with our eyes”(eyesight is good, clear evidence, certainly); “We have looked at” (this is better still, for this imports a deliberate, careful, circumspect gaze); but better still, “Our hands have touched,” for… his hands had often met the real flesh and blood of the living Savior. We need have no doubt about the reality of Christ’s incarnation when we have these open eyes and hands to give us evidence. Presence of God 1 John 1:1–2 (ESV) 1 … concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— The two phrases, however, present different aspects of the same truth. The Word became flesh, contemplates simply the historic fact of incarnation. The life was manifested, sets forth the unfolding of that fact in the various operations of life. The one denotes the objective process of the incarnation as such, the other the result of that process as related to human capacity of receiving and understanding it. Jesus is not only God in the flesh, He is God in action. Jesus is the presence of God on earth. John 5:30–36 (ESV) 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true… 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. Luke 22:39-46 (829) Hebrews 12:2 (ESV) 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Luke 9:51 (ESV) 51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. “Here are two mysteries for the price of one — the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus. . . . Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God Establishing the ______________________ of Salvation Both Jesus’ divinity and humanity make salvation real for us. Hebrews 2:14–15 (ESV) 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. John 14:8-12, 15-17 Colossians 2:8–15 (ESV) 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
May 17, 2022
The Word of Life
The Word of Life 1John 1:1a Big Idea: John introduces us to the subject of his epistle. It is the Word of Life, who was from the beginning. And this Word of Life can never be separated from the person and work of Jesus Christ and what that work produces in those who believe. What is the subject of John’s writing? 1 John 1:1 (NET) — 1 This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning… 1 John 1:1 (NRSV) — 1 We declare to you what was from the beginning… The alternative is to take [concerning the Word of Life]… as an independent adverbial clause. In this way, ‘the Word of life’ becomes the ‘subject’ (Westcott, Law) of the announcement, while the four relative clauses ‘declare the substance’ of it (Law). Similarly, ‘the clause “concerning the word of life” indicates the theme of the announcement, and the clauses “that which was from the beginning … our hands felt” state the contents of the announcement’ (Dodd). It is essentially about eternal life in Christ that John is concerned (John 20:31; 1 John 5:12–13). What John is primarily concerned with throughout this Epistle is the identification and the consequences of eternal life. Two things we learn concerning the Word of Life; The Word of Life cannot be separated from a _____________________ 1 John 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes… ἀρχή always signifies “primacy,” whether in time: “beginning,” principium, or in rank: “power,” “dominion,” “office.” “Wherefore Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is both God and man; God before all worlds; man in our world: God, because [He is] the Word of God (for ‘the Word was God’); and man, because in His one person the Word was joined with a body and a rational soul. Wherefore, so far as He is God, He and the Father are one; so far as He is man, the Father is greater than He. For when He was the only Son of God, not by grace, but by nature, that He might be full of grace, He became the Son of man; and He Himself unites both natures in His own identity, and both natures constitute on Christ; because, ‘being in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be,’ what He was by nature, ‘equal with God.’ But He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, not losing or lessening the form of God. And, accordingly, He was both made less and remained equal, being both in one, as has been said: but He was one of these as Word, and the other as man. As Word, He is equal with the Father; as man, less than the Father. One Son of God, and at the same time Son of man; one Son of man, and at the same time Son of God; not two Sons of God, God and man, but one Son of God; God without beginning; man with a beginning, our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Augustine The Word of Life cannot be separated from what it ___________________ 1 John 1:1 (ESV) — 1 That which was from the beginning… concerning the word of life— John 1:1–4 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him (Word) was life, and the life was the light of men. Genesis 1:1–3 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. What John is seeking to communicate here is that you cannot be born of Christ and not be like Christ. Questions to Consider Take some time to reflect on the quote from Augustine. May it cause you to rejoice in and worship the Son. Why is it significant that Jesus was in the beginning? What does this look like for you? What in your life still reflects the old life of death? How is Jesus meeting you in your need this morning? What steps will you take this week to better reflect Je
April 13, 2022
Committed to Growing in Christ
Sermon from Sunday April 3, 2022
April 07, 2022
An Introduction to the First Epistle of John: Part 2
An Introduction to the First Epistle of John: Part 2 1John 5:13b Big Idea: John’s purpose in writing his first epistle is explicitly clear, he writes to believers so that they might know the purest content of their faith and therefore be confident in their possession of eternal life. John wants us to know that eternal life, a life which is God’s and flows from God, is our present possession as we trust in Jesus. Two remarkable things about this reality that John presents; It is a _________________________ reality. 1 John 5:13 (ESV) — 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. John writes to those who are believing, so that they might know that they are possessing eternal life. indicative — The mood in which the action of the verb or the state of being it describes is presented by the writer as real. It is the mood of assertion, where the writer portrays something as actual (as opposed to possible or contingent on intention). This letter… was written for believers. John’s desire for them is not that they may believe and receive, but that having believed, they may know that they have received, and therefore continue to have (present), eternal life The theology of the indicative asserts that your joy-filled obedience as a Christian flows from the righteous character you have been given in your union with Christ. The theology of the indicative further asserts that your obedience can never secure the blessings of Christ, because you have already received all the blessings of Jesus in your union with him. We are working from Christ’s obedience not toward it. You are not becoming something you are not, you are slowly realizing what you are in Him. 2Peter 1:3-11 It is a ____________________ __________________ reality. 1 John 5:13 (ESV) — 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. In John’s language, the term eternal not only speaks of duration, but also of quality. It is a “kind” of life that John is referring to. The kind of life that God has. John 4:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” John 3:36 (ESV) — 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 5:24 (ESV) — 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 6:47 (ESV) — 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. John 6:54 (ESV) — 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. Questions to Consider What does John want us to know we have? What does John mean by eternal life? How does knowing this affect the way you live the Christian life? What might it look like in your daily temptations to apply this understanding of sanctification?
April 07, 2022
Introduction to 1 John
1John 5:13a Big Idea: John’s purpose in writing his first epistle is explicitly clear, he writes to believers so that they might know the purest content of their faith and therefore be confident in their possession of eternal life. Beloved, if we mistake John’s purpose, we might come to doubt our experience of eternal life instead of being confirmed in it. This letter is written to ______________________________ 1 John 5:13 (ESV) — 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God… John 20:30–31 (ESV) — 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. What John is characterizing throughout his epistle is what the life of the believer looks like. This epistle is a characterization of how the Holy Spirit effects change in the hearts of those who belong to Christ. Those who truly believe in Jesus are those who keep on believing in Jesus, particularly the Jesus who is proclaimed by the Apostles. 1 John 5:13 (YLT) — 13 These things I did write to you who are believing in the name of the Son of God… Matthew 6:34 (ESV) — 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. This letter is written to instill ______________________ 1 John 5:13 (ESV) — 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. Philippians 3:10 (ESV) — 10 that I may know (ginosko) him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, Oida = To be cognizant or aware of a __________ or a specific piece of ______________. John speaks throughout this epistle in absolutes, not in relativities. That is to say that John gives us an unadulterated knowledge of what it means to be a child of God, unpolluted by emotions or experiences. His statements are the purest form of Christianity and to see the realities which he presents in your own life is to be able to know, without a doubt, that you belong to Christ. The Bible defines our Christian experience, our Christian experience does not define the Bible. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) — 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. Questions to Consider What does John mean by “know” in this letter? How should this instill confidence in our faith? How should we respond when confronted with something in our lives that doesn’t line up with John’s presentation of the life of Christ in a believer? How should we handle others who say they have another word from Jesus?
March 22, 2022
Why a Vision and Commitments?
Join us as we look at Exodus 13: 17-22.
March 15, 2022
The Blessed Effects of God's Mercy Part II
Join us in our final sermon in the book of Jonah as we look at Jonah 4:11.
March 15, 2022
The Blessed Effects of God’s Mercy
Jonah 4:11 Big Idea: God is a merciful and gracious God. His grace doesn’t merely extend to the renewal of our spirits, that renewal effects our lives personally as well as the lives around us practically. The ___________________ blessing of God’s salvation Jonah 4:11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left…” “did not know their right had from their left” = spiritual ______________ and moral ____________ Beloved hear this, just as God had sovereignly raised up the plant to relieve Jonah, just as God sovereignly ordained the worm to eat the plant and cause it to whither, just as God sovereignly appointed the scorching east wind to torment Jonah, God also sovereignly exercised his mercy and grace to the Ninevehites, in pity, and gave them spiritual eyes to distinguish between their moral right hand and their left hand, so that they turned from the violence that was in their hands. Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Galatians 1:15–16 (ESV) — 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; God in the exercise of his grace took off the spiritual blinders from Paul’s eyes and caused him to see himself for who he truly was, a sinner, and Jesus for who he truly is, a savoir. 2 Corinthians 4:3–6 (ESV) — 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus has the power to restore spiritual sight so that we might live as instruments of God’s grace to those around us. Ephesians 2:1–10 (ESV) — 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. The willingness of Jesus to pity the sinner, and the power of Jesus to restore our spiritual sight, so that we no longer walk in spiritual and moral darkness, is the greatest news this world has ever heard! John 3:5-8, 1Pet. 1:23, James 1:18
February 22, 2022
A Demonstration of God’s Abundant Mercy
Jonah 4:6-11 Big Idea: God teaches Jonah an important lesson about grace. God is directly involved in Jonah’s life and growth and he sovereignly orchestrates the physical circumstances of Jonah’s life to teach him about grace. God appoints a _______________________ Jonah 4:6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort… “The castor-oil plant, (Ricinus communis), also called castor bean, is a large plant of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae)… In the tropics the plants reach about 30 to 40 feet in height and bear handsome giant 12-lobed palmate (fanlike) leaves.” –Encyclopedia Britannica “The bristly, spined bronze-to-red clusters of fruits are attractive but often are removed before they mature because of the ricin concentrated in their mottled beanlike seeds. These oil-rich seeds contain the poison ricin, one of the most toxic substances known, and consumption of chewed seeds can be lethal.” –Encyclopedia Britannica Ephesians 4:31 (ESV) — 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Colossians 3:8 (ESV) — 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Matthew 5:43–45 (ESV) — 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Jonah is wasting away in bitterness toward his enemies, Christ was made alive through sacrifice for his enemies. The Lord appoints a _____________ and ________________ Jonah 4:7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind… Step by step God’s education of the prophet continued. Having prepared the vine (v. 6), as he had prepared the great fish, God then prepared a worm… It may refer to the black caterpillar that abounds in the Nineveh region. The next clause, “which chewed the vine so that it withered,” shows the devastating action of the worm. The destructive effect of worms on many types of vegetation is well known… Combining the effect of the worm with the torrid heat would cause a plant to wither quickly even without divine intervention… God also provided or prepared a scorching east wind. Losing precious shade in this harsh environment was one matter for Jonah. Experiencing this horrible wind was yet another. Most identify this wind as the “sirocco.” When this wind is experienced in the Near East, the temperature rises dramatically, and the humidity drops quickly. It is a constant and extremely hot wind that contains fine particles of dust… The Septuagint translates it succinctly as a “scorcher.” Questions to Consider What circumstances is God using right now in your life to teach you about grace? What are some lessons you can take from the prophet Jonah here? How might we depend upon Christ to deepen our care for others around us?
February 01, 2022
God’s Mercy vs. Man’s Mercy
Jonah 4:1-5 Big Idea: Jonah is upset with God that he extends mercy and grace to the Ninevehites. This shows how God’s ways are different from man’s ways. Our tendency is to conform God into the image of man. This is idolatry. God is calling us to submit our perception of him to his holy and revealed Word, in which the true nature and character of God is found, which is always contrary to man’s nature. “The Hebrew phrase [slow to anger] is literally ‘long of nostrils.’ Picture an angry bull, pawing the ground, breathing loudly, nostrils flared. That would be, so to speak, ‘short nosed.’ But the Lord is long-nosed. He does not have his finger on the trigger. It takes much accumulated provoking to draw out his ire. Unlike us, who are often emotional dams read to break, God can put up with a lot. This is why the Old Testament speaks of God being ‘provoked to anger’ by his people dozens of times… But not once are we told that God is ‘provoked to love’ or ‘provoked to mercy.’ His anger requires provocation; his mercy is pent up, ready to gush forth. We tend to think: divine anger is pent up, spring-loaded; divine mercy is slow to build. It’s just the opposite. Divine mercy is ready to burst forth at the slightest prick. (For fallen humans, we learn in the New Testament, this is reversed. We are to provoke one another to love, according to Heb. 10:24. Yahweh needs no provoking to love, only to anger. We need no provoking to anger, only to love. Once again, the Bible is one long attempt to deconstruct our natural vision of who God actually is.)” –Dane Ortland, Gentle and Lowly Ecclesiastes 7:9 (ESV) — 9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. James 1:19–20 (ESV) — 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. The ______________________ of Jonah’s Displeasure 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord… for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. The literal translation is, “It was evil to Jonah with great evil.”…Jonah literally hated what God had done. As God’s anger and judgment were averted in chap. 3, Jonah’s anger was incited. Genesis 20:6 (ESV) —6 Then God said to him (Abimelech) in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Exodus 7:3–4 (ESV) — 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you… 1 Kings 18:37 (ESV) — 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Proverbs 21:1 (ESV) — 1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. God is not like Jonah. God is not like you and me. The __________________________ of Jonah’s Displeasure 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew… The selfishness of this prayer needs to be noted. The word “I” or “my” occurs no fewer than nine times in the original. Not only does this prayer show an extreme selfishness, but it also indicates Jonah’s shortsightedness. Luke 22:41–44 (ESV) —41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Questions to Consider How often do you find yourself contending with the way God works in your life? Is this a fruit of the Spirit or a work of the flesh? How might we combat this? What was Jona
January 25, 2022
God's Mercy in Relenting
Jonah 3:10 Big Idea: If we are not careful we might mis-interpret and therefore mis-apply Jonah 3:10. There are two questions that must be answered properly in order to understand what the Spirit is revealing to us here; what does it mean that God relented and why did God relent? We find that both speak to the faithfulness of God to fulfill his Word and bless us in the person of Jesus Christ. 1. _______________ does it mean that God relented? Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Isaiah 46:8–11 (ESV) — 8 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. It is precisely because God is unchanging that we are encouraged to repent. God is unfailing in both his wrath against sin and his mercy toward faithful repentance. There is no variation in his opposition to wickedness; thus, we are always called to repent of our sin. There is no variation in his delight in receiving sinners who call on the name of the Lord and lay hold of his mercy through faith in his Word. 1 John 1:9 (ESV) — 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jeremiah 18:7–10 (ESV) — 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. If you turn from your sin, and turn to God, he is faithful to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. That promise is as sure today as it was 10, 100, or 1,000 years ago. Receiving God’s blessing = Repent and turn to Christ in faith 2. _________________ did God relent? Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) — 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. The point of Jonah 3:10, and Leviticus 26:40, and Deut. 6:18, and Romans 2:6-11, is not ultimately to show that God responds to our obedience, but rather that God ultimately responds to Christ’s obedience. Hebrews 10:1-18 All that you are, and all that you have is because of what Jesus Christ has done in his life, death, and resurrection. Questions to Consider - What do we learn about God’s relenting of his disaster toward Nineveh? How should this make us confident in his character and purposes? (1John 1:9) - What does Jonah 3:10 teach us about obedience? Why is this both discouraging and encouraging to us? Who is this principle ultimately pointing us to? - How might this truth apply in your life as you think about your obedience to God now? Is it dependent upon you? - How does this apply to your service to God and his church?
January 18, 2022
Christmas Eve Sermon
Sermon from our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight service.
January 11, 2022
God’s Mercy in the Repentance of the King
Jonah 3:6-9 Big Idea: The repentance of the king of Nineveh is no small thing. Not only does it show God’s extravagant mercy to a king who absolutely did not deserve it, but God will use the official decree of the king of Nineveh to broadcast his mercy and grace to the world. God’s Mercy _________ the king Jonah 3:6 (ESV) — 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Proverbs 21:1 (ESV) — 1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. The Lord cannot use a man, or woman, greatly until He has broken him completely. He arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. The remainder of v. 6 describes the exciting response by this ruler. He rose from his throne, the seat of his royal power, and humbled himself with the common people. He laid aside his robe, which was a large and beautifully embroidered mantle… (Josh 7:21). In its place the king put on sackcloth as a sign of mourning, and he sat in ashes, a sign of deep humiliation… He who was the highest in the empire took the lowest position of abasement. God’s Mercy _________ the king Jonah 3:7 (ESV) — 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh… God responds to the repentance of the broken hearted and contrite in spirit. Leviticus 26:40–42 (ESV) — 40 “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, 41 so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) — 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Although Moses has been discoursing of very severe and cruel punishments, still he declares that even in the midst of this awful severity, God is to be appeased if only the people should repent, notwithstanding that they may have stripped themselves of all hope of pardon by their long-continued sins. For he does not address sinners in general, but those who by their obstinacy and brutal impetuosity have come nearer and nearer to the vengeance of God; and even these he encourages to a good hope, if only they be converted from their hearts. Let us be assured, then, that God’s mercy is offered to the worst of men, who have been plunged by their guilt in the depths of despair, as though it reached even to hell itself. Whence, too, it follows, that all punishments are like spurs to rouse the inert and hesitating to repentance, whilst the sorer plagues are intended to break their hard hearts. Questions to Consider Who are you praying will turn in repentance and faith in God? Does the repentance of the king of Nineveh give you hope that this is possible? Why or Why not? What does the repentance of the king tell you about God? Why does this matter?
January 11, 2022
God’s Mercy in the Means: Part 2
Jonah 3:5 Big Idea: God’s means of salvation has always been the Word Proclaimed and the Word Believed. In our text for this morning we see that the Ninevehites exercise the second means of salvation by embracing God’s Word as reality and acting upon their acceptance of its implications. The Word of God Proclaimed The Word of God __________________________ Jonah 3:5 (ESV) 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God… Genesis 15:6 (ESV) 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Romans 4:9–12 (ESV) 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. Forever and always our access to God’s power and grace is through trusting in what God has declared to us. When God Speaks He is Declaring _____________________ Jonah 3:4 (ESV) — 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Hebrews 11:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Romans 8:3–4 (ESV) 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Colossians 2:9–10 (ESV) 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 (ESV) 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Galatians 5:1, 25 (ESV) — 1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. When we Believe we _________________ on that Belief Jonah 3:5 (ESV) — 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. James 2:14–17 (ESV) — 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. The pattern of our sanctification is always to know the truth, to embrace the truth, to submit to the truth, and to live out the truth. Questions to Consider In what ways is God calling you to believe what he has declared about you? Why is this so hard? What are some things you know to be true of you because you are in Christ? How might this change the way you react to different circumstances in your life?
January 11, 2022
God’s Mercy in the Means: Part 1
Jonah 3:1-4 Big Idea: God’s means of salvation has always been the Word Proclaimed and the Word Believed. In our text for this morning we see that the message which is to be received and proclaimed is a message of coming judgement and God’s salvation from that judgement. The Word of God _________________________ A Message ______________________ Jonah 3:1–5 (ESV) 1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” The clause “I give you” is literally “which I am speaking (or about to speak) to you.” 2 Peter 1:16–21 (ESV) 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Scriptures 1-2 Inspiration is a special act of the Holy Spirit3 by which He guided the writers of the Scriptures so that their words would convey the thoughts He wished conveyed, would bear a proper relationship to the thoughts of the other inspired books, and would be kept free from error of fact, doctrine, and judgment. “A voice! …this is not a God who is seen but a God who is heard. The contrast with the idols is very clear—idols are seen, but they don’t speak. The one true and living God is not seen, but He is heard. The contrast is intentional, graphic, and clear—we speak because we have heard. And the voice of God is not something that Israel deserved, nor do we. It is sheer mercy.” –Al Mohler God’s Word is not to be altered, critiqued, or scrutinized, it is to be received and then proclaimed. A Message ______________________ Jonah 3:2 (ESV) — 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” Romans 10:14–15 (ESV) 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Kerruso: Matthew 10:27 (ESV) 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. A Message of ______________________ Jonah 3:4 (ESV) 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Matthew 1:18–21 (ESV) 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Questions to Consider Why does the doctrine of Inspiration instill confidence in the message we proclaim? What does it say about how we should approach God’s Word? Can you think of any opportunities you might have this Christmas season to declare the good news of Jesus becoming flesh so that he could save us from sin? What happens when we fail to preach a message of judgement? How does the bad news give way to the good news? Is this salvation through the means of preaching and believing only for unbelievers? Why or why not?
January 04, 2022
Three Mini-Sermons from Jonah 3:1-3
Big Idea: God is always committed to the glory of his name proclaimed in the salvation of his people. God is constantly working to redeem us from our sins so that we might glorify his name to those around us. Your _______________ story matters Jonah 3:1 (ESV) — 1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying… Your failures are just as important to your story as your victories are. Gal. 1:11-24 God is _________ ___________ with you yet Jonah 3:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord… Jonah 1:3 (ESV) —3 So Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord… Jonah 3:3 (ESV) —3 So Jonah rose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord… The Lord cannot give up on us! Numbers 23:19 (ESV) — 19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Malachi 3:6 (ESV) — 6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. Romans 11:29 (ESV) — 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. “God is unchanging in his promises. Ah! we love to speak about the sweet promises of God; but if we could ever suppose that one of them could be changed, we would not talk anything more about them. If I thought that the notes of the bank of England could not be cashed next week, I should decline to take them; and if I thought that God’s promises would never be fulfilled—if I thought that God would see it right to alter some word in his promises—farewell Scriptures! I want immutable things: and I find that I have immutable promises when I turn to the Bible: for, “by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,” he hath signed, confirmed, and sealed every promise of his. The gospel is not “yea and nay,” it is not promising today, and denying tomorrow; but the gospel is “yea, yea,” to the glory of God.” –Charles Spurgeon Romans 6:1-14 God’s Grace is _____________________ Jonah 3:3 (ESV) —3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. God desires to see the fame of his name spread and the riches of his love to be enjoyed by many. Questions to Consider In what ways has God saved you and how might you declare his glory in that salvation? Are you selling the gospel short if you are unwilling to talk about your failures? Why or Why not? Is there a certain sin that God desires you to be free of? How might you go about pursuing redemption with God? With others? What is the immutability of God? Why is it important? Are you comforted by the fact that God cannot give up on you? Why? Why does this not give you a license to sin? In what ways might God be calling you back to himself? What circumstances are you facing right now that God is using to provoke a greater trust in Him? How is he going to use that to push you onto proclaiming his name to others?
December 14, 2021
God’s Outrageous Mercy in Redemption
Jonah 2:10-3:1 Big Idea: God sovereignly exercises his mercy toward us to save in order to prepare us for service. 1 Timothy 1:15–17 (ESV) — 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. God _________________ Saves Jonah 2:10 (ESV) — 10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. In these verses are found the education of the pouting prophet and the affirmation of God’s sovereignty. It is God who is the most important character. He is the one who affects salvation, and he is the one who enables deliverance. Neither Jonah nor the fish had control. It was God and God alone. It pleases the Lord to redeem! Matthew 12:38–41 (ESV) — 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Romans 7:6 (ESV) — 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) — 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:14–15 (ESV) — 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. God’s Sovereignly Saves for ________________ Jonah 3:1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” All that Jonah had been through was sovereignly orchestrated by God to prepare him to minister to the Ninevehites. God is sovereign in this chapter, as elsewhere in the book. He designates the fish (v 1 [1:17]). He effects by it the rescue celebrated in the psalm Jonah prays. He tells the fish to put Jonah ashore (v 11 ). Neither Jonah nor the fish has had any control over events. And God has used his sovereignty to rescue a disobedient prophet! He will accomplish what he intends (cf. 1:14) and his intention, it is becoming clear, is that Jonah should be taught a lesson about grace. If Jonah himself experienced deliverance from a deserved death, maybe then he will have some ability to commiserate with the citizens of the city and nation to whom he has been called to preach. God ordained Jonah’s suffering to fit Jonah for service. And he does the same for you and for me. Questions to Consider Do you take hope in God’s sovereign ability to save? Why or Why not? In what ways have you seen God’s salvation in your own life both initially and in your sanctification? In what ways has God specifically fit you to serve others?
December 07, 2021
The Gospel According to Jonah: The Good News Part 2
Jonah 2:8-9 Big Idea: The bad news of the gospel is that we cannot help but sin and God cannot help but judge our sin. The good news of the gospel is that God is able to save and that God alone can save. If we seek salvation in any other means, we will be eternally devastated. The Double Good News: God is Able to save God is able to save us from ourselves. God is able to save us from Himself. God _________________ can save. Idols are ________________ of God’s _____________ ______________. Jonah 2:8 (ESV) — 8 Those who pay regard to vain idols… What is idolatry? Idolatry is trusting in created things rather than the Creator for our hope and happiness, significance and security. God and God alone is worthy of our ultimate allegiance and fealty. Exodus 20:3–5 (ESV) — 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God… ‘zealous’ might be a better translation in modern English, since ‘jealousy’ has acquired an exclusively bad meaning. Like ‘love’ and ‘hate’ in the Old Testament (Mal. 1:2, 3), ‘jealousy’ does not refer to an emotion so much as to an activity, in this case an activity of violence and vehemence, that springs from the rupture of a personal bond as exclusive as that of the marriage bond. God demands exclusivity because of the reality that there is no one else like God. Isaiah 45:22 (ESV) — 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. God is so strict on idolatry not because he is a vindictive lover, but because of the damage it does both to God’s reputation and to our own spiritual health. Jeremiah 2:12–13 (ESV) — 12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Idols are ________________ to _______ us from our _______________. Jonah 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” NASB95 “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, NRSV Those who worship vain idols forsake their true loyalty. ESV Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. NIV “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. The ot frequently uses the term ḥesed to denote an aspect of God’s character as it relates to his covenant with his people. Perhaps the most well-known use of ḥesed is found in Psalm 136, where the term is used 26 times as part of the refrain, “for his loyal love (ḥesed) endures forever.” In this passage the psalmist applies the term ḥesed to God’s work in creation (Psa 136:4–9), his reign in heaven (Psa 136:26), and his military victories (Psa 136:17–22). Elsewhere in the ot, God’s ḥesed is manifested by his acts of redemption (e.g., Exod 15:13), his mercy and forgiveness (e.g., Num 14:19), and his faithfulness to the covenant with this people (e.g., Deut 7:9).
December 07, 2021
The Gospel According to Jonah: The Good News Part 1
Jonah 2:4-7 Big Idea: The bad news of the gospel is that we cannot help but sin and God cannot help but judge our sin. The good news of the gospel is that God has saved us both from our desire to act contrary to God and his perfect righteousness in dealing with that sin through judgment. We cannot help but sin, God cannot help but righteously judge our sin. The Double Good News: God is __________________________ to save: God is able to save us from _____________________. Jonah 2:4–6 (ESV) — 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ “Roots of the mountains” suggests a belief that the foundations of the mountains lie in the depths of the earth, which are covered by the sea (cf. Sir 16:19). Jonah was expressing his feeling of being in the deepest part of the ocean, as far removed from the world of human habitation as it was possible to conceive. Any help or hope was completely out of reach. God is shown to be God to the uttermost when he redeems us from inescapable predicaments, even our own spiritual death. Ephesians 2:1 (ESV) — 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked… 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) — 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Romans 6:6–7 (ESV) — 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. Galatians 5:24 (ESV) — 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. God is able to save us from ____________________. Jonah 2:4 (ESV) — 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ Jonah 2:7 (ESV) — 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Exodus 25:8 (ESV) —8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. [In the Holy of holies was the ark of the covenant]… Resting upon the ark was the mercy seat, a rectangular slab of solid gold, to which were attached two cherubim. The inward-looking cherubim and the mercy seat formed a throne for the invisible God (Ex 25:22), who is frequently described as enthroned above or upon the cherubim (Pss 80:1; 99:1). The noun “mercy seat” comes from a verb meaning to make atonement. The mercy seat was sprinkled with blood at the climax of the annual Day of Atonement (Lv 16:14). Hebrews 9:23-26 Questions to Consider From what has God saved us? In what ways does God need to save you from yourself? Does it bring comfort knowing that God is perfectly righteous? What does it say about his need to punish sin? Where else do we see this in our daily lives? What does it mean for us now, knowing God has saved us from the penalty of our sin?
December 07, 2021
The Gospel According to Jonah: The Bad News
Jonah 2:3-6 Big Idea: The bad news of the gospel is that each one of us are born with a nature contrary to God and therefore our motives and actions are subject to the perfectly holy and righteous judgement of the God of the universe. Without God’s salvation we all would receive what we rightfully deserve. Psalm 73:28 (NASB95) — But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. “We are far too easily satisfied… like an ignorant child we would rather make mud pies in the slums then spend a vacation on the shore. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis Jonah recognizes that God is using the natural order to bring judgement upon him for his rank rebellion. Jonah deliberately turns his back on the Lord and therefore God is bringing righteous retribution to Jonah through his circumstances. The Double Bad News: Our ______________________ Nature Jonah 2:3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. John 3:16–21 (ESV) — 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (life with God) 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” The first part of the bad news, that precedes the good news, is that we, like Jonah, have motivations and desires that are contrary to the perfect will of the Lord. Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) — 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV) — 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Romans 8:7–8 (ESV) — 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 3:10–12 (ESV) — 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:18 (ESV) — 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” God’s ________________________ Righteousness Deuteronomy 32:4 (ESV) — 4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. God is the perfectly righteous and holy judge of the universe. Therefore there is nothing that is overlooked, there is nothing that is compromised, there is nothing that is excused. Hebrews 10:31 (ESV) — 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Romans 3:23 (ESV) — 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 1 John 1:8–2:2 (ESV) — 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, an
December 07, 2021
The Gospel According to Jonah: Part 1
Jonah 2:1-2 Big Idea: The good news of the gospel is that God gives us himself. And the principle means that we turn to to understand the great glory of God is the Bible. “When I say that God Is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment. The saving love of God is God’s commitment to do everything necessary to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, namely himself. Since we are sinners and have no right and no desire to be enthralled with God, therefore God’s love enacted a plan of redemption to provide that right and that desire. The supreme demonstration of God’s love was the sending of his Son [Jesus] to die for our sins and to rise again so that sinners might have the right to approach God and might have the pleasure of his presence forever.” – John Piper Psalm 34:8 (ESV) — Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! The Bible is the account of God’s dealings in history with mankind to bring a defiant people back to a joy and delight in Himself. Proximity to the Lord is far more important than your personal comfort. Two things we learn about the gospel from Jonah 2:1-2: God is the ____________________ of our ultimate delight Jonah 2:1 (ESV) — Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, Psalm 73:28 (NASB95) — But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. The Lord through his circumstances changes Jonah’s heart, and that change in heart brings Jonah back to the Lord through his Word. Scripture is _____________________ to ______________ our Delight in God. Jonah 2:2 (ESV) — saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. Psalm 3:4 (ESV) — I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah Psalm 118:5 (ESV) — Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Word is sufficient to declare the good news of God and sustain our souls as we search for joy in the midst of our troubling circumstances. Quote to Consider “The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience. The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’–instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: d
November 26, 2021
Jonah: God’s Mercy in the Great Fish
Jonah 1:17 Big Idea: God sovereignly appoints a fish to swallow up Jonah. The fish is the instrument that God uses to bring Jonah to the end of himself and to cry for mercy from his God. Two things we know for sure: We know where the Fish _____________ ______________ Jonah 1:17 (ESV) — 17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah… Psalm 74:13–14 (ESV) — 13 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. The word [appointed] is used four times in the Book of Jonah and always points to the Lord’s power to accomplish his will. Here it shows his sovereignty over the creatures of the sea; in 4:6 it shows his power over plants; in 4:7 it shows his power over crawling creatures; and in 4:8 it shows his power over the wind. While God indeed may have prepared a special “fish” for Jonah, the text only indicates that God summoned the fish, common or special, to be at that place at the exact moment of need. We know that the fish came from God. Psalm 115:3 (ESV) — 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 135:6 (ESV) — 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. All of God’s sovereign control is an exercise of God’s loving care. We know where Jonah _______________ _____________ Jonah 1:17 (ESV) — 17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. “As to whether a man could survive in a whale’s stomach, the Encyclopedia Britannica maintains that he certainly could, though in circumstances of very great discomfort. There would be air to breathe, of a sort. It is needed to keep the animal afloat. But there would be great heat, about 104-108 degrees F. Unpleasant contact with the animal’s gastric juices might easily affect the skin, but the juices would not digest living matter, otherwise they would digest the walls of the creature’s own stomach.” – James Boice Discomfort can often be the instrument that God uses for the most benefit in your life and in history. Matthew 12:38–41 (ESV) — 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. Jesus endured the pouring out of God’s wrath and suffered eternal death so that we might enjoy eternal life. Questions to Consider What are the two things we know for sure from this passage? Is it a comfort to know that God is in control of every circumstance you find yourself in? Why or Why not? Is discomfort a good thing? How did God use it in Jonah’s life? How is he using it in yours? Can you think of a time recently when you felt very uncomfortable? What was God seeking to teach you through it?
November 23, 2021
Jonah: God’s Mercy in Sacrifice
Jonah 1:11-16 Big Idea: God’s purpose in judgement is redemption. God is calling us to surrender ourselves to his good and righteous purposes in the hardships around us. Man’s ____________________________ to Judgement (hardship) Jonah’s response is __________________________ Jonah 1:12 (ESV) — 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” “There was nothing left for [Jonah] now. He felt that God had no more use for him. He was no longer sure whether he was a true servant of God or not… He now felt both physically and spiritually, a castaway, with no guarantee of rescue, and the expectation of the reverse.” – Sinclair Ferguson 2 Corinthians 1:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. The fight of faith is to not let your circumstances overwhelm you to the point of throwing in the towel, but instead to trust in God’s providence and purposes. The Sailors response is _______________________________ God’s desire for us is not to make our own way but instead to accept and embrace his way. God ________________________ through Judgement (hardship) Jonah 1:14 (ESV) — 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord… John 11:49–53 (ESV) — 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. Jonah deserved to die, Jesus did not. John 18:38 (ESV) — 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. John 19:4 (ESV) — 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” John 19:6 (ESV) — 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The point of Jonah is not to immortalize Jonah, it is to exalt Jesus. Questions to consider How can you identify with Jonah (dejection) in this account? How can you identify with the sailors (discipline)? In what ways is God calling you to set aside your ways and to trust in his? How does Jesus save us from our own plans? In what ways might you trust in Jesus and what he has done for you to overcome your reluctance to God’s plan?
November 23, 2021
Jonah: God’s Mercy in the Casting of Lots
Jonah 1:7-10 Big Idea: God uses the casting of lots to reveal his will to the sailors and Jonah is forced to reckon with his God. God’s _________________ ___________ Jonah 1:7–10 (ESV) — 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. The casting of lots was a widely used method in the ancient Near East. The most common word used for “lot” indicates that they were either stones or pebbles38 that were painted or colored. When the stones were thrown, if two dark sides landed up the usual interpretation was no. If two light sides landed up, that meant yes. A light and a dark side meant throw again. Using this system, the sailors dealt with each individual until the color revealed the guilty person. Joshua 7:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’ ” Acts 1:24–26 (ESV) — 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Proverbs 16:33 (ESV) — 33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. God rules all natural forces (Ps. 147:8f.), all wild animals (Jb. 38–41), and all happenings in the world, great and small, from thunderstorms (Jb. 37; Ps. 29) and plagues (Ex 7:3–11:10; 12:29ff.; Joel 2:25) to the death of a sparrow (Mt. 10:29) or the fall of a lot (Pr. 16:33)… The Bible presents God’s constant fulfilling of his kindly purposes in nature both as matter for praise in itself (cf. Pss. 104; 147) and as a guarantee that he is lord of human history, and will fulfil his gracious promises in that realm also (cf. Je. 31:35ff.; 33:19–26). Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16-17 Everything in your life comes from God’s gracious hand. The largest and the smallest occurrences come from God. Jonah’s ___________ ________________ Jonah 1:10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 1 John 1:9 (ESV) — 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. James 5:16 (ESV) — 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Questions to Consider How do you see yourself in the Prophet Jonah? How was the casting of lots a mercy to both the sailors and Jonah? In what ways has God revealed himself to you in small details? Is this always a trustworthy source? What is a better way to know the will of God? Whom is God calling you to tell of the goodness and mercy of God through Christ?
November 02, 2021
Jonah: God’s Mercy in the Wind
Jonah 1:4-6 Big Idea: God stirs up a storm to win the sailors to himself and to wake Jonah up from his spiritual stupor. God’s _________________ ___________ Jonah 1:4 (ESV) — 4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea… Psalm 135:5–7 (ESV) — 5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Acts 13:29–30 (ESV) — 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead… Acts 2:22–24 (ESV) — 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Ephesians 2:1–5 (ESV) — 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins… 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— God’s redeeming mercy is found in the wind. Man’s ___________ ________________ Jonah 1:5 (ESV) — 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them… The ancient Near East’s religious environment included devotion to a multitude of “protecting spirits, patron deities, lower echelon gods and goddesses and senior members of the Pantheon,” which gave rise to an extremely confusing situation. Perhaps the sailors felt that they had not reached their god or had gone through the wrong “channels” to contact their particular patron deity. Thus they also “threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship…” Nothing these men could do could appease the justice and judgement of God. Luke 8:22-25 Recounting the life of Jonah is not the ultimate goal of the book of Jonah. Pointing to, and magnifying Jesus Christ is the ultimate goal of not only this book but also all of history. The point of Jonah is always that Jesus is better. God is in every circumstance. Questions to Consider Reflect on Psalm 135:5-7. What is this telling us about God? Why is this important when we think about Jesus and the cross? How does the reality of God’s sovereign love comfort you? In what ways is God using the “wind” in your life to draw you closer to himself? How often do you turn to your own devices to appease the “wind”? What are some ways that you try to cope with difficult circumstances and don’t turn to the Lord? (eating, entertainment, etc.) What does trusting in Jesus through the hardships instead of turning to idols look like? How might you pray that you trust Jesus more in the midst of the “wind”?
November 02, 2021
Jonah: An Outrageous Mercy
Jonah 1:1-3 Big Idea: God is merciful to Nineveh by sending a prophet to call them from their ways, and God is merciful to Jonah by sending a ship that will be an instrument of his loving and gracious discipline. The Mercy of God is _______________ in a _____________ Command Jonah 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” Jonah 4:11 (ESV) — 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” These are a great people (that is many in number), with a great iniquity, who catch the attention of a great God who is not content to leave them in their sin and destruction. Mercy is that eternal principle of God’s nature which leads him to seek the temporal good and eternal salvation of those who have opposed themselves to his will, even at the cost of infinite self-sacrifice. Romans 5:8–11 (ESV) — 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. The ________________ of Jonah and a _______________ Providence Jonah 1:3 (ESV) — 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Psalm 139:5–10 (ESV) — 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. “The ship lying in the Joppa harbor was not meant to be a means of escape from God’s clearly revealed word, but the most terrible instrument in the hand of God to bring his servant back to his senses.” –Sinclair Ferguson Jonah’s desire to flee from the Lord is met by God’s desire to keep Jonah close and to preserve him through the hardship of the trial ahead. God ordains the very hardships that Jonah is about to encounter in order to win his heart’s affections back to Himself. Questions to Consider How do you see yourself in the prophet Jonah? In what ways are you in need of God’s mercy? Confess your sins and pray for power to live in light of his Word. Are there ways you are running from the Lord? In what ways is God seeking to win your affections back?
October 29, 2021
Jonah: A Journey with God
Jonah 1:1-2 Big Idea: Jonah is a book about God’s mercy needed by all and extended to all. 3 Main Players in the Book of Jonah: The Lord, ________________________ Jonah 1:1 (ESV) — 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah… Exodus 3:14 (ESV) — 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 20:4–6 (ESV) — 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. God is present. God is watching. God is desiring to see not only Jonah thrive but also the people of Nineveh thrive. Further still, and hear this, God is not only desiring for Nineveh to thrive but he desires for us to thrive. And so, He speaks. Jonah, _____________________ of Amittai Jonah 1:1 (ESV) — 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Kings 14:25 (ESV) — 25 He (King Jeroboam II) restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. From the book of Jonah itself it is evident that Jonah was an ardent nationalist, pro-Israel and anti-foreign; at least, anti-Assyrian. The book also reveals, implicitly, that he was a dedicated, disciplined, strong-willed prophet We are all in need of God’s mercy. God asks us to do the very things we don’t want to do because he loves us. Nineveh, the _____________ _____________ Jonah 1:2 (ESV) — 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” “It was even more shocking that the God of Israel would want to warn Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire of impending doom. Assyria was one of the cruelest and most violent empires of ancient times. Assyrian kingdom often recorded the results of their military victories, gloating of whole plans littered with corpses and of cities burned completely to the ground. The emperor Shalmaneser III is well know for depicting torture, dismembering, and decapitations of enemies in grisly detail on large stone relief panels. Assyrian history is ‘as gory and bloodcurdling a history as we know’” Tim Keller God extends his mercy even to the worst of us. Questions to consider What is the message we are going to see throughout the book of Jonah? Why is this message important to you? Do you have any Ninevehites in your life? Those whom you are reluctant to share God’s mercy? What does this say about your view of God? And people? How might you go about trusting God by declaring his love and mercy to them?
October 29, 2021
The Importance of Fellowship
October 29, 2021
Kingdom Reality 10: God’s Kingdom Comes with a Calling
Matt. 28:16-20 Big Idea: Jesus calls us to trust in him as we go about the mission of making disciples. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious rule on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. God is Building His Kingdom! God’s Kingdom will Thrive. God’s Kingdom is Spiritual. God’s Kingdom is Re-generate. God’s Kingdom belongs to the Child-like. God’s Kingdom Requires a New Connection God’s Kingdom Comes with a _______________________ Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” At the heart of the Great Commission is a Great Co-mission. Three reasons to trust the Lord Jesus Christ with the Great Comission: Jesus has __________________________ Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me… Jesus authority in the mission of making disciples is over life and death. John 10:17–18 (ESV) — 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 17:1-5 Jesus has __________________________ the mission Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. A disciple of Jesus is not someone who merely confesses some truth about Jesus. A disciple is one who embraces the truth of Christ so much so that he joins a community of believers through baptism and then begins adopting the teaching of the Bible. The verb “make disciples” also commands a kind of evangelism that does not stop after someone makes a profession of faith. The truly subordinate participles in v. 19 explain what making disciples involves: “baptizing” them and “teaching” them obedience to all of Jesus’ commandments. The first of these will be a once-for-all, decisive initiation into Christian community. The second proves a perennially incomplete, life-long task. Mere confession does not equal true conversion. Jesus is ______________________________ with us. Matthew 28:20 ... And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 1Sam. 17:45-47 Questions to Consider Are you trusting Jesus with the mission of making disciples? What would this look like in your day to day activities?
October 29, 2021
Kingdom Reality 9: God’s Kingdom Requires a New Connection
Matt. 12:46-50; John 1:9-13 Big Idea: The Kingdom of God belongs to those who have been born of God and have been declared to be his children through faith in the work of Jesus Christ the Righteous. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious rule on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. God is Building His Kingdom! God’s Kingdom will Thrive. God’s Kingdom is Spiritual. God’s Kingdom is Re-generate. God’s Kingdom belongs to the Child-like. God’s Kingdom Requires a ________ _________________________ Matthew 12:48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Natural connections have no bearing on our belonging to God's Kingdom. Belonging to the kingdom of God requires a new connection. John 1:9–13 (ESV) — 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. The ______________________ behind this connection. John 1:12 (ESV) — 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, “The NT word is exousia, meaning rightful, actual and unimpeded power to act, or to possess, control, use or dispose of, something or somebody.” Psalm 93:1–2 (ESV) — 1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. John 10:29–30 (ESV) — 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” The ______________________ of this connection. John 1:13 (ESV) —13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. Our blessings still come from our connection to another. But it comes from our connection to Christ through faith and not to some earthly benefactor. Questions to Consider How does your connection to your family effect your standing before God? Is this good news? Why? How does becoming a child of earthly parents resemble becoming a child of God? How does it not? Why is this distinction important? Have you personally connected yourself to Christ through faith? What does this mean for your relationship to God?
October 29, 2021
Kingdom Reality 8: God’s Kingdom Belongs to the Child-like
Mark 10:13-16 Big Idea: The Kingdom of God belongs to those who willingly surrender their ideas, agendas, and plans to God for the advance of his kingdom purposes. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious rule on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. God is Building His Kingdom! God’s Kingdom will Thrive. God’s Kingdom is Spiritual. God’s Kingdom is Re-generate. God’s Kingdom belongs to the _______________________. Jesus ___________________ the Disciples. Mark 10:13–14a (ESV) — 13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant… All of these things are pointing to the spirit that is to be adopted by the follower of Christ. We are to be broken, dependent, and reliant upon another for our blessing. 10:13 Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. Jesus ___________________ the Child-like. Mark 10:14–15 (ESV) — 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 1 Corinthians 1:27–31 (ESV) — 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” To receive the kingdom of God like a child is to be utterly dependent upon God’s every word and work for the salvation of souls. The use of a child as a teaching aid… has explicitly (in terms of its context) to do with status, not with any character traits supposedly typical of children. The child represents the lowest order in the social scale, the one who is under the authority and care of others and who has not yet achieved the right of self-determination. To ‘become like a child’ (Mt. 18:3) is to forgo status and to accept the lowest place, to be a ‘little one’ (Mt. 18:6, 10, 14; 10:42). To ‘receive the kingdom of God’ means to be God’s willing subject, gladly embracing the radical values which Jesus has come to inculcate. It is such ‘reception’ now which is the key to ‘entry’ hereafter. We are not significant or worthy within ourselves, we are significant and worthy because Jesus is significant and worthy. Everything we possess is because of another. Questions to Consider: Read Mark 10:35-45. Why is this passage significant to what we learn in Mark 10:13-15? What does the disciples insistence say about us? How does Jesus response help us understand the agenda of God’s kingdom? How often are you tempted to tell God how to run his household? How might you repent of this mentality and trust in his good and gracious plan? Is it a comfort that God is calling you to be as a child? Why or why not? How does this childlike faith secure our salvation in Christ?
October 29, 2021
Kingdom Reality 7: God’s Kingdom is Re-Generate (Born Again)
Kingdom Reality 7: God’s Kingdom is Re-Generate (Born Again) John 3:1-8 Big Idea: The natural man is incapable of seeing Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. The Spirit of God regenerates us so that we might believe in Jesus. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious rule on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. God is Building His Kingdom! God’s Kingdom will Thrive. God’s Kingdom is Spiritual. God’s Kingdom is ____-______________. (Born Again) The __________________________ John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. … the Sanhedrin had seventy members… The council’s members were drawn mainly from the leading priestly families and the religious instructors known as “scribes” or “teachers of the law”. By including both of these groups, the Sanhedrin was composed of both Sadducees (priestly) and Pharisees (scribal). The ____________________ Birth John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Just like we don’t have the natural ability to fly, so we do not have the natural ability to see God’s kingdom. John 14:17 (ESV) — 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV) — 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Being born by a woman naturally gives you eyes to see the world, but being born by God gives you eyes to see the world rightly. Nicodemus may be a Pharisee and Judge in Israel, and the woman at the well may be a Samaritan and an adulterous, but God’s kingdom is open to both. The ___________________ of the Spirit John 3:7–8 (ESV) — 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 1 John 5:1 (ESV) — 1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. Belief is a product of the Spirit’s work, not the cause of the Spirit’s work. Ephesians 2:8–10 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Questions to Consider What does Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus prove? His interaction with the woman at the well? Why is Re-generation or new birth essential to believing in Jesus? Read John 1:9-13. What do we learn of the new birth here? How does Is 43:8-13 help us understand this reality? How should we respond to this kingdom reality?
September 28, 2021
Kingdom Realities 4&5: God is Building His Kingdom
Kingdom Reality 4&5: God is Building His Kingdom Mark 4:26-32 Big Idea: God is building his Kingdom and his Kingdom will thrive. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious rule on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. God is _________________ His Kingdom! The Sower _________________ Mark 4:26–27 (ESV) — 26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. “… in this case the reader is likely to notice particularly the fact that the man who is the beneficiary of the seed’s growth contributes nothing towards it beyond the initial sowing of the seed and the eventual harvesting; in between he has nothing to do but wait… The kingdom of God, then, does not depend on human effort to achieve it, and human insight will not be able to explain it. What we are to understand about this parable is that ultimately the progress and success of the gospel is not left to our efforts or our ingenuity. We sow the seed and God gives the growth. 1Cor. 3:5-9 The Plant __________________ Mark 4:28–29 (ESV) — 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” God’s Kingdom will _______________________. Mark 4:30–32 (ESV) — 30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” It is this contrast between an insignificant beginning and an impressive final size which is the point of the simile… The theme is a familiar one: ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’… The message is clearly related to that of the previous parable, but presented here in a simpler form, with the focus on the contrast between beginning and end rather than on the process of growth. The Kingdom of Christ may have started with 12 ordinary men, but it has grown into the greatest force in all of history because God is behind it. Questions to Consider: What did you learn from this passage that you did not know before? How did this passage challenge your heart and in what ways is God calling you to embrace its truth and live it out in your life? What are some tangible ways you might implement its truth?
September 28, 2021
Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom: Part 3
Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom: Part 3 Mark 4:18-20 Big Idea: God is preparing the field of people’s hearts to receive the seed of his Word. How people respond to hearing God’s word is an indication of the condition of their hearts. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious kingdom on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. 4 Soils but only 2 Responses Rejection Immediate Rejection Immediate Reception but Eventual Rejection _________________ Rejection Mark 4:18–19 (ESV) — 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Jesus is very clear that the evidence of true saving faith is a losing of our lives in this world so that we might find Christ in this life and the next. Matthew 16:24–26 (ESV) — 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? What we know from Jesus and from the Apostles is that the true seed of the Word, which is planted in tilled and cultivated soil, will produce the fruit of self-sacrifice and self-denial. 2 Timothy 4:9–10 (ESV) — 9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica… In contrast the reference to Demas… is brief, almost curt. It is notable that while the earlier names in the closest parallel list of greetings have some descriptive phrase or comment appended, to personalize what might otherwise be a mere catalogue, the later names lack such elaborations (Rom. 16:14–16). The appropriate inference is that Paul did not know the individuals so well or feel so close to them. In this case Demas is not even described as “fellow worker” (as in Phm. 24). That all was not well between Paul and Demas is confirmed by one of the sadder personal notes in the Pauline corpus: “Demas, in love with the present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:10). Of Demas we hear nothing more in Christian tradition. Acceptance Mark 4:20 (ESV) — 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) — 13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. This is the sign of true conversion, when we subject our thoughts, opinions, emotions, wills, preferences, privileges, yes even our own lives to the Word of God, and the object of the gospel, who is Jesus, the Son of God. A life given over to Jesus produces fruit that lasts into eternity. Questions to Consider: What are three things that the Lord uses to test the soil of our faith? How do we know when true conversion has taken place? How might you explain someone who entertains Christianity but then loses his or her faith because of the enticements of the World? What do they need?
September 28, 2021
Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom: Part 2
Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom: Part 2 Mark 4:13-17 Big Idea: God is preparing the field of people’s hearts to receive the seed of his Word. How people respond to hearing God’s word is an indication of the condition of their hearts. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious kingdom on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. What people do shows who people are. There is an inseparable connection between our actions and our nature, or between our fruit and the soil of our hearts. Every soil produces a kind of fruit and we can know the state of the soil by looking at the fruit. Two Responses to hearing the gospel: Rejection ___________________ Mark 4:15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. John 15:18–21 (ESV) — 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. ___________________ Mark 4:16–17 (NASB95) — 16 “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. Luke 9:57–62 (ESV) — 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The one who truly comes to Christ is the one who considers the demand of discipleship and embraces it because he has been awakened by the Spirit and the word. The false reception is temporary, it only lasts for a time. John 6:52-69 “If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.” –Tim Keller Questions to Consider: How can you tell when soil has not been properly prepared? What does this tell you about other’s responses to the word? How should we respond when we see others that are hostile to the gospel, or are struggling with the demands of Christ?
September 28, 2021
Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom
Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom Mark 4:11 Big Idea: God is preparing the field of people’s hearts to receive the seed of his Word. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious kingdom on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is __________________________ hearts to receive his gospel. Mark 4:11 And he said to them, “To you has been given (granted) the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, Musterion: The mention of a μυστήριον immediately sets the tone for Jesus’ response, but can easily mislead English readers who naturally think of a ‘mystery’ as something which is inherently hard to understand, and which can be unravelled only by unusual cleverness—if it is not totally incomprehensible. But the true sense of μυστήριον is better captured by the English ‘secret’, which denotes not incomprehensibility but hiddenness. A secret is that which is not divulged—but once known it need not be hard to grasp. It is privileged information rather than a puzzle. This passage is touching on the reality that the kingdom of God is hidden to some and revealed to others. It is rejected by some and accepted by others. Some ignore it and dismiss it, others pay attention and embrace it. To some it has been granted to know the secret of the kingdom, to others it remains hidden. In order for a seed to be accepted and thrive, the ground must be prepared to receive it. This parable is not commenting on a haphazard farmer that just goes out and sows seed wherever it falls. No, this parable is bringing to light the inevitability that some seed that he sows will fall on unprepared and untenable ground. Luke 10:21–22 (ESV) — 21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matthew 16:15–17 (ESV) — 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. John 6:44 (ESV) — 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:65 (ESV) — 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” This reality is given to us this morning so that we might go out and liberally spread the seed of his gospel, trusting that God has done the preparatory work of tilling the fields of people’s hearts to receive it. Questions to Consider What is your favorite thing about fields perfectly prepared to receive the seed of planting season? How does the truth of God preparing hearts to receive his Word encourage you to share the gospel? Who might you pray for right now that God would break up their hard and stony heart to receive his Word?
September 28, 2021
Kingdom Reality 2: Jesus is Stronger!
Kingdom Reality 2: Jesus is Stronger! Luke 11:14-23 Big Idea: As we await the coming of the Great King, we ought to live embracing the reality the Jesus is Stronger! The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious kingdom on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is ____________________. Luke 11:20-22 (ESV) 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Colossians 1:16 (ESV) — 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 3 Questions concerning the exercise of Jesus’ authority over the demoniac: What does it mean that the Kingdom of God is __________ ________? 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. The exorcisms performed by Jesus provided strong evidence that God’s Kingdom, long anticipated and hoped for, had at last entered history in a transforming way. In fact, the words and works of Jesus as a whole revealed the fact that the Kingdom of God had actually arrived in the person of Jesus of Nazareth… Yet, there was still the future time when the purposes of God would be fully realized and consummated, and so the disciples were taught to pray, “May your Kingdom come soon” (11:2; Matt 6:10). The Kingdom’s nearness and imminence (Mark 1:14–15) called for repentance in preparation for its final realization, when the Son of Man would come in power (Mark 14:62; Matt 26:64; cf. Luke 21:36; 22:69). Both the “already” and the “not yet” dimensions of the Kingdom must be affirmed and kept in careful balance to do justice to the present and future dimensions of the Kingdom theme. Jesus is both exercising his authority now, and he will exercise his authority in the future in a way that he isn’t exercising his authority now. How is Jesus exercising his authority ___________________? Luke 11:14 (ESV) — 14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. Matthew 12:22–23 (ESV) — 22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” Jesus is stronger than Satan! There is no force of hell that can thwart Jesus’ agenda, he will advance his Kingdom. What about us who do not ______________ the kingdom of God like this first century audience? 1Cor. 1:18-25 Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
September 28, 2021
Kingdom Reality 1: The Priority of God’s Kingdom
Kingdom Reality 1: The Priority of God’s Kingdom Matt. 6:25-33 Big Idea: As we await the coming of the Great King, we ought to live with his kingdom as a priority in our lives. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious kingdom on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes __________________________. Matthew 6:31–33 (ESV) — 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 2Thes. 3:6-12 Proverbs 6:6–11 (ESV) — 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. If God provides for those things in the created order that he hasn’t given the abilities to work or toil or clothe themselves, how much more will he give to those who he has given the abilities to work and toil, and plant and sow, and spin and create. So much more. “God providentially works through human beings in their diverse callings, and this is the outworking of his love for his creation. According to Luther… the economic order is a vast network of loving and serving, giving and receiving, in which God is present and in which Christians live out their faith." Gene Veith; Working for Our Neighbor 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) — 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Epizeteo vs. Zeteo Matt. 6:25-33 is not teaching that we ought to seek God’s kingdom as opposed to our earthly responsibilities, it is teaching us that we ought to pursue one in service of the other. That is to say that we ought to be about our earthly business as a means to advance God’s heavenly business. God is calling you to use your vocation as a vehicle for his kingdom. 2 Peter 3:11–13 (ESV) — 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Questions to Consider What has God called you to do throughout the week? How might you use that as a vehicle to be about God’s business? What are the challenges you face within your daily calling to advance God’s kingdom? How is God calling you to trust Him in the midst of those challenges? Can you name specific individuals that God is calling you to invest in as you live out God’s daily calling on your life?
September 28, 2021
The Millennial Kingdom: Part 2
The Millennial Kingdom: Part 2 Selected Passages Big Idea: Jesus’ Millennial reign is God’s next stage of redemptive history. In the Millennial Kingdom we see a further demonstration of God’s good and gracious rule over creation. What is the Millennial Kingdom? God’s final demonstration of his goodness and glory to the nations through the __________________ and ________________ rule of the Resurrected Christ and his resurrected people for 1,000 years before the New Heavens and the New Earth. 3 ways the plan of God for redemption progresses in the Millennial Kingdom: Christ Rules ______________ on Earth. Acts 1:4-11 John 16:7 (ESV) — 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. Our ability to live as a demonstration of God’s grace and to overcome the powers of this age is directly connected to Christ’s ascension and his rule at the right hand of the Father now. Colossians 3:1–4 (ESV) — 1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 1Cor. 15:22-26 Then comes the end… (adverb) When he delivers the kingdom to the Father (adverb) After destroying every rule and every authority and power. For (explanatory conjunction) he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet… Satan is _________________ to the Bottomless Pit. Rev. 20:1-3 The description of the subjugation of the ‘dragon’ (Satan) continues without a break in the account of the conquest of the evil trinity which had gathered ‘the kings of the whole world … for the battle on the great day of God Almighty’ (16:14). The paragraphs should never have been separated. After the judgment on the antichrist and the false prophet and the multitudes they had deceived, the ultimate enemy is dealt with, namely the devil, who had inspired the rebellion against God. No great contest is necessary; an angel seized him, bound him with a chain, threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him—a fourfold means of ensuring that he was removed from all contact with humanity on earth God’s people are _______________ Resurrected and Rule with Christ. Rev. 20:4 Joshua 4:23–24 (ESV) — 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Questions to Consider How does God’s plan for the Millennial Kingdom encourage your heart? How ought we conduct ourselves knowing that Christ is returning for his people?
September 28, 2021
The Millennial Kingdom Part 1
The Millennial Kingdom Selected Passages Big Idea: Jesus’ Millennial reign is God’s next stage of redemptive history. In the Millennial Kingdom we see a further demonstration of God’s good and gracious rule over creation. What is God’s Kingdom? God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to _______________________ the blessings of his good and righteous kingdom to _______________________ subjects all to his glory. Romans 8:18-25 “[Jesus’] mission, as well as his Messiahship, was a ‘mystery’; it was not to bring the evil Age to its end and inaugurate the Age to Come. It was rather to bring the powers of the future Age to men in the midst of the present evil Age…” George Eldon Ladd What is the Millennial Kingdom? God’s final demonstration of his goodness and glory to the nations through the __________________ and ________________ rule of the Resurrected Christ and his resurrected people for 1,000 years before the New Heavens and the New Earth. If the incarnation of Christ (first coming) was a humble and subtle unveiling of the glory of God and the church is an extension of that subtlety, then the Millennial Kingdom is an extension of the glorious unveiling of Jesus Christ as conquering King in his second coming. 3 noteworthy events that indicate the time of the Millennial Kingdom is after the church age: Christ Return is ______________________ at the End of the Church Age Revelation 19:11-16 The first time that John saw heaven standing open was to admit him to the glorious sights and sounds of vision two (4:1). This time the gates are thrown wide so that Christ and the heavenly armies may leave and descend to earth. Revelation 1:7 (ESV) — 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Mark 13:24–27 (ESV) — 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. In the incarnation of Christ he came as a humble savior, in his return he will come as a conquering king. Luke 17:22–24 (ESV) — 22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. The return of Christ brings judgement upon his enemies. Satan is _________________ _________________ before the Millennial Kingdom. Revelation 19:19-20:3 What we see here is that at the end of the church age and the beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ (vs 2), the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire and Satan is thrown into the bottomless pit. Revelation 20:7 (ESV) — 7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison… Revelation 20:10 (ESV) — 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Questions to Consider: How does the hope of Christ return encourage you in the midst of this present evil age? How are we to live in light of this future manifestation of God’s goodness and glory? How might Christ’s return serve us as we seek to the spread the good news of Christ’s kingdom to those who are non-believing among us?
September 07, 2021
Mark Shaeffer preaching on Joshua 1:1-9
September 07, 2021
Living in the Overlap
Living in the Overlap Selected Passages Big Idea: We live in the overlap of this age and the age to come, therefore we ought to anticipate a tension between a rejection and acceptance of God’s kingdom while on this earth. We as God’s people, should be representatives of the age to come. Matthew 12:32 (ESV) — 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Luke 18:29–30 (ESV) — 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” This Age. Eph. 2:1-3 (917) What characterizes this age? This Age is ______________________ in Trespasses and Sins… The trouble with men and women is not merely that they are out of harmony with their environment and with their fellows. They are ‘alienated from the life of God’ (4:18), that is, with respect to their true spiritual nature they are dead through … trespasses and sins… The sinful condition of humanity is lifeless and motionless as far as any Godward activity is concerned. John 3:19–20 (ESV) — 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. This Age ___________________ according to the prince of power of the air… Romans 8:3-8 (888) This Age ______________________ under the wrath of God… The Age to Come. What characterizes the age to come? Rev. 21:1-8 (977) The Age to Come _______________ Newness of Life… Romans 8:23 (ESV) — 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. James 1:18 (ESV) — 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. The church displays a portion of the fullness which is to come in the New Heavens and the New Earth. The Age to Come ____________________ in the full presence of God… John 16:4-7 (848) The Age to Come is ___________________ of God’s Wrath… 2Cor. 5:17-21 (908) Scripture for your meditation: 2 Peter 3:11–15 (ESV): Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation...
September 07, 2021
What is God's Kingdom: Part 3
What is God’s Kingdom: Part 3 Selected Passages Big Idea: God’s kingdom is his authority and ability to rule. We see this kingdom exercised over certain realms and people. God’s kingdom reigns over all of creation, over the kingdoms of men, and over the hearts of men. What is God’s Kingdom? God’s _______________ and ________________ to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond. God exercises his authority over: The Realms of Nature The Realms (kingdoms) of Men The Realm of the __________________ Proverbs 21:1 (ESV) — 1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. Ezra 6:22 (ESV) — 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Exodus 7:1-4 (pg. 46) God is directing the affairs of men by either applying direct pressure to or removing his restraining hand from the hearts of men so that he might accomplish his purposes on this earth. “Concurrence may be defined as the co-operation of the divine power with all subordinate powers, according to the pre-established laws of their operation, causing them to act and to act precisely as they do.” Louis Berkhoff Systematic Theology “The Scriptures teach that Divine sovereignty and [creature] freedom co-operate in perfect harmony; that while God is the sovereign ruler and primary cause, [creatures are] free within the limits of [their natures and are] the secondary cause; and that God so controls the thoughts and wills of [all creatures] that they freely and willingly do what He has planned for them to do.” Loraine Boettner The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination God is directing the affairs of men by either applying direct pressure to or removing his restraining hand from the hearts of men so that he might accomplish his purposes on this earth. Ezekiel 36:26–27 (ESV) — 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. John 1:9-13 (pg. 833), 3:1-8, 6:41-45, 66-69 In the church we see the kingdom of God manifested. We see a gathering of individuals who are compelled to do God’s will because the Spirit is joyously motivating them toward godliness. Titus 2:11–14 (ESV) — 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Questions to Consider Why is it a good thing that God has the power and authority to change men’s hearts? In what ways have you seen God change your heart? How do our evangelistic efforts depend on God’s ability to change men’s hearts? How are you displaying the goodness of God to transform our inner man to those around you?
September 07, 2021
What is God’s Kingdom: Part 2
Big Idea: God’s kingdom is his authority and ability to rule. We see this kingdom exercised over certain realms and people. God’s kingdom reigns over all of creation and over the kingdoms of men. What is God’s Kingdom? God’s _______________ and ________________ to rule over any and all realms within the created order. God has the right to rule over: The Natural Realm The Realms (kingdoms) of ________________ Psalm 47:6–8 (ESV) — 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! 8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. Isaiah 40:15 (ESV) — 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Daniel 2:17-23, 31-45; 4:28-35 (pg. 691) Even the greatest kings of this earth must ultimately answer to the King of Kings. Whether we look at the world from a micro (God’s rule over details) or a macro (God’s rule over the big picture) perspective, God is controlling and orchestrating all the affairs of mankind in order to accomplish the purposes of his kingdom. Galatians 4:4–5 (ESV) — 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Early Christian apologists pointed to the fact that the birth of the Messiah occurred during the Pax Romana, a period of relative peace and stability. Others have pointed to the development of a common language, favorable means of travel, the emergence of an urban civilization that made possible the rapid spread of the Christian message, and so forth. Still others have pointed to the lapse of a definite period of time (cf. Dan 9:24) that had to occur before the appearance of the Messiah. It is sufficient to say with Calvin that “the time which had been ordained by the providence of God was seasonable and fit.… Therefore the right time for the Son of God to be revealed to the world was for God alone to judge and determine.” John 19:8–11 (ESV) — 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” Acts 2:22–23 (ESV) — 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God’s plans and purposes are ultimate and he has the authority and ability to direct the affairs of men to accomplish his will on the earth. Questions to Consider Is it a comfort to know that God is ruling over all the affairs of men? Why? How should this truth cause you to conduct yourself on this earth? In what ways are you frustrated with culture in which we live? How does this kingdom reality address your frustration? In what ways might you live more faithfully to this truth of God’s rule over the nations?
August 31, 2021
What is the Kingdom of God?
What is God’s Kingdom: Part 1 Selected Passages Big Idea: God’s kingdom is his authority and ability to rule. We see this kingdom exercised over certain realms and people. God’s kingdom reigns over all of creation. What is God’s Kingdom? Mark 1:14–15 (ESV) — 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” The concept of kingdom throughout the scriptures hinges on a person’s rightful authority and ability to rule over both realms and people. Luke 19:11-15 (825) This “kingdom” must be understood dynamically as “kingly authority” or “kingship” rather than statically as referring to territory, for what he brought back in Luke 19:15 was not territory but the right and power to rule (see comments on 4:43). Two interesting historical analogies may have provided background for this allusion. Both Herod the Great in 40 b.c. and his son Archelaus in 4 b.c. went to Rome to receive confirmation of their rule. Herod received the kingship of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Archelaus received not “kingship” but only the title “Ethnarch.”322 The kingdom of God is God’s right to rule. Psalm 103:19 (ESV) — 19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. God has the right to rule over: The ______________________ Realm Genesis 1:1 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 1 Chronicles 29:11–13 (ESV) — 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. God spoke and the building blocks of our created world were brought into existence. Amos 4:7-10 (718) Revelation 4:11 (ESV) — 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Luke 4:14-21, 5:17-26 (807-808) Questions to Consider How is God’s Kingdom defined? Does it bring you comfort that God exercises authority over the natural realm? Why? Does it bring you comfort that God exercise authority over the spiritual realm? Why? How does this truth encourage you to advance God’s Kingdom in your relationships with others?
August 31, 2021
2020-11-08 The Hope of Our Citizenship (Philippians 3:21)
November 8, 2020
August 09, 2021
2020-11-15 Standing Firm in the Lord: Part 1 (Philippians 4:1)
November 15, 2020
August 09, 2021
2020-11-22 Standing Firm in the Lord: Part 2 (Philippians 4:1b)
November 22, 2020
August 09, 2021
2020-11-29 Agree in the Lord (Philippians 4:2-3)
November 29, 2020
August 09, 2021