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Rest for the Weary

Friday, December 23, 2016

TEXT: Matthew 11.25-30

Our God is amazing! He is the saving God. It’s why He sent His Son to be born and ultimately die for us. Passages like Isaiah 45.22-25 and 55.1-3 tell us who God is. “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22, ESV). In Jesus’ ministry, the invitation for salvation was everywhere: John 6.35, 7.37-38; 8.12. In every case, the admonition was, “Come.” 

On Sunday, we’ll look at another invitation. It’s Matthew 11.25-30. Maybe you have part of this text memorized. It is a beloved text and it is rich with information. In it, Jesus offers us rest, which is a “refreshing,” or “reviving.” It is ultimately, salvation! In our time together this Lord’s day, we’ll examine the passage in depth. After we consider the context (11.20-24), we’ll examine five important components that are inherent in this great personal invitation from our Savior.

We’ll see:

  • Humility in 11.25-26.
  • Revelation in 11.27.
  • Repentance in 11.28a.
  • Faith in 11.28b.
  • And submission in 11.29-30.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • Read 11.25. Why do you think certain things were hidden from the wise and understanding? What can we learn from this?
  • Jesus mentions little children in 11.25. What are some other passages where Jesus uses similar terminology and how is it applied to those who wish to be in the kingdom?
  • Read 11.27. Focus on the words My Father. What is a key component every person must believe about Jesus?
  • In 11.28 Jesus speaks of being weary and heavy laden. What do these concepts mean to you?
  • What is so special about being under the yoke of Jesus? How does it differ from your previous condition?

If Anyone Would Come After Me

Friday, December 16, 2016

TEXT: Luke 9.21-26

Our text for Sunday could be likened somewhat to a confrontation. Jesus calls and commands us to come. He exhorts us to believe in Him and turn from our sin. And, He urges us to embrace Him as our Lord. This is the heart of the gospel. Receiving salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life requires a willingness to embrace suffering, persecution, and even execution. We need to be careful that when sharing the gospel we do not lure people into deception. Salvation is comforting. Experiencing love and compassion are part of it. But before embracing those things, people need to understand sin, wrath, and the judgment to come. As we strive for a balanced approach, we need to be sure not to do those we teach a disservice. The matter of salvation is very serious. It is not all easy and smooth. There will be great difficulty in fighting and succeeding against temptation, our flesh, and all sorts of outside influences.

On Sunday, we’ll examine Luke 9.23-26 in depth. The passage can be neatly divided into three areas of emphasis:

  • 9.23 - a principle.
  • 9.24-25 - a paradox.
  • 9.26 - a prediction.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • What do you think the principle is in Luke 9.23?
  • What if you could possess the entire world? Would it be worth it?
  • What does it mean to deny yourself?
  • Why do you think casual Christians might be potentially threatened by this text?
  • Read Revelation 20.11-15. What gets your attention in this passage? What do you intend to do about it?

Come and See

Friday, December 09, 2016

Text: John 1.38-51

Why is it so important to hear and heed the voice of Jesus? What did people see in Him? What made them want to follow, in many cases without hesitation? This month, we talking about how to make this happen today. Last week we examined John the Baptist’s testimony concerning Jesus in John 1.19-37. It’s a great summary of his entire ministry. We have three days, three messages that are given to three different groups. Sunday’s lesson will continue our look into what else happened on that third day, as well as the fourth. These are the first disciples who are called into Jesus’ ministry. The story of these disciples and how they came to heed Jesus’ invitation is worthy of our examination today. We’ll look at the two primary sections in this passage, and then wrap up the lesson with why this matters.

  • 1.38-42 - Andrew and Simon (and John).
  • 1.43-51 - Philip and Nathanael.
  • Why this matters.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • Why were the Jews so hungry for a messiah?
  • What would John the Baptist’s message have centered on? Where would the message of a messiah fit in?
  • What did Jesus tell Simon about the future? Can you find a passage in Matthew’s gospel that connects to this?
  • What is an important thing we learn about spreading the gospel in this text?
  • What Old Testament passage is in view in 1.50-51 and how does it apply here?

Follow Me

Friday, December 02, 2016

TEXT: John 1.19-37

What does it mean to hear and heed the voice of Jesus? What did people see in Him? What made them want to follow, in many cases without hesitation? How can we capture that today? A good place to begin as we answer these questions is John 1.19-37. This story about John the Baptist’s testimony concerning Jesus takes place over three days. It’s a great summary of his entire ministry. We have three days, three messages that are given to three different groups. We learn that John does three things:

  • 1.19-28 - He tells the people that the messiah was here.
  • 1.29-34 - He tells people to look at the messiah.
  • 1.35-38 - He tells them to follow the messiah.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • Are you read John 1, what are some verses that indicate his great humility? Write them down and discuss.
  • What is so unique about John’s calling Jesus (the Messiah) a lamb? How would this have differed from Jewish expectations?
  • Read 1.31-34. How did John know Jesus was the Messiah?
  • What did John encourage his two disciples to do in 1.36-37?
  • What are some important things that stand out to you in today’s text (John 1.19-37)?

The Reason for our Hope

Friday, November 25, 2016

TEXT: 1 Peter 3.13-17

During 2016, we have explored how we are living in a changing world. What kind of world will our kids have as they mature into their childbearing and productive years? For the first time in American history, Christians seem to be a target. Our country is rapidly becoming secular. And while our country is changing, we’re not the first nation to experience this. This hasn’t been a happy planet since Genesis 3. Despite the prevalence of sin, we know God can work through anything to accomplish His purpose. It is times like these that drive us to stronger dependence on God, more prayer, moving away from the world, and comforting others who are in trouble. As we study together Sunday, we’ll remind ourselves of four important truths in 1 Peter 3.13-17:

  • Be passionate for what is good.
  • Possess a willingness to suffer.
  • Honor Christ as holy.
  • Live for the hope of glory.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • How can we resist responding in kind when others malign us for our spiritual convictions?
  • Why is it so hard to condemn a person with a kind and generous spirit?
  • How can a person be blessed when he suffers for doing good?
  • What are some ways your fear be turned to hope?
  • Why is it so important to have a strong, optimistic hope in the things to come?

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