My neighbor always lets his weeds get 2-3 feet high. Sometimes as I am navigating down the footpath, a weed will rub against my leg and I jump in the air and quickly look down to make sure I’m safe. In my mind, I know that he never addresses the weeds. But even still, I look down because there is a small chance that a mosquito or spider or something else is crawling on my leg. I hate bugs.
When I was a pastor, I always encouraged people to look in the Bible to see the verses I was referencing in a sermon. It was important for me to point people to the actual scripture so that everyone could see what God says. Even though most of the time it is only weeds rubbing against your legs, every so often there is a mosquito or spider crawling on your leg. If you are looking in your Bible to see what God says, you can check for yourself. You aren’t trusting it’s a simple grazing of a weed. You’re able to know it is just a weed. This is important for your walk with Jesus—to know for yourself what God says. Yes, you won’t know it all. Yes, you won’t understand it all. But open up His Word and seek Him.
There are a lot of commentators of the Bible. There are thousands of pastors and theologians. Interpretations vary at times because people allow their own misconceptions and traditions to speak into the Word. People read what they want to read. People cherry pick. People have agendas. People are broken. I’m not suggesting that the last sermon you heard was wrong or that commentaries are bad. My pastor shared a great message from God this past Sunday, and my bookshelf is lined with commentaries. My suggestion, my desire for you is to always seek Him and His Word for yourself. Independent Bible reading and study should be a regular occurrence. What is God saying to you today?
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” – Psalm 25:5 [ESV]
This morning in my pre-coffee daze, I neglected to grab my dual leash for my dogs. Instead, I grabbed them each their separate personal leashes and got them ready for their morning walk. I always use the dual leash for walks; if you ever tried to walk two dogs without one, you’d easily figure out why it is nice to have a dual leash. No tangles. No tripping. Smooth sailing with the canines and God.
As I walked to the next block, I realized that I had forgotten the dual leash, but I also realized that the dogs were still walking as if they were using the dual leash. In using the dual leash for years, they developed a habit. They were trained. The dogs knew the path to walk. They knew their limitations. They knew the distances they needed to be located. They had it all memorized. It became a way of life.
In this same way, as we continue to drown ourselves in the Word of God and aim to live it out, we find ourselves not having to think so much on some things. It becomes second nature. Spending time daily in the Word helps us navigate our day better understanding true obedience and better discerning the will of God.
Continue to add more time with God and His Word as you go through the week. Start a YouVersion reading plan. Pick up a daily devotion book. Download the Dwell app. Do whatever works for you to hear and read more of God’s Word. Take small bites. Enjoy big feasts. Remember, God’s Word always produces fruit.
“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” – Isaiah 55:11 [NLT]
Week 1 – The Lamb of God
[John 1:29, Leviticus 17:11]
Here is the LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world.
- Behold –to point something out
- Here – to indicate a place … John is drawing attention to Jesus
- Lamb of God – sent by God, provided by God
- Takes Away – removes, blots out
Lamb in a Sacrificial Sense: God is holy and righteous, separate from sin
Atonement – Reconciliation – wipe clean, sacrifice that cleanses from sin
Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement. [CSB]
Leviticus 4:32-35 – “kipper” – make atonement, make reconciliation, to purge, to wipe clean
Leviticus 4:5-6 – The anointed priest will then take some of the bull’s blood and bring it into the tent of meeting. The priest is to dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. [CSB]
Leviticus 16:14-16 – He is to take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger against the east side of the mercy seat; then he will sprinkle some of the blood with his finger before the mercy seat seven times. When he slaughters the male goat for the people’s sin offering and brings its blood inside the curtain, he will do the same with its blood as he did with the bull’s blood: He is to sprinkle it against the mercy seat and in front of it. He will make atonement for the most holy place in this way for all their sins because of the Israelites’ impurities and rebellious acts. He will do the same for the tent of meeting that remains among them, because it is surrounded by their impurities. [CSB]
Hebrews 9:11-12, 16-22, 24-28
Confession / Costly / Identification / Personal
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read John 1:29. Does John the Baptist’s statement about the Lamb of God refer to sacrifice? If yes, how can you tell?
2) The phrase “sin of the world” is bold and radical. Why? How can we live this out?
3) In what sense is God’s provision of the animal sacrifice for forgiveness of sins an expression of mercy?
4) Were animal sacrifices actually adequate to atone for sin?
5) How is the Lamb of God a more sufficient sacrifice than the previous sacrificial system?
Week 2 – The Lamb Who Takes Our Place
Substitute – a person acting or serving in place of another.
Bears Our Sin (v. 4)
2 Corinthians 5:21 – He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [CSB]
Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so Christ could make us acceptable to God. [CEV]
1 Peter 2:24-25 – and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. [NASB]
Receives Our Punishment (v.5-6)
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]
Acts Voluntarily (v. 7)
John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [ESV]
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many [NLT]
Revelation 5:6, 9-10 – Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth… And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Isaiah 53:1-3. How was Jesus a man of sorrows? How is the description of Jesus that we read about in this passage not what was expected?
2) Read Isaiah 53:4-6. List every “our” phrase. What does the list say to you?
3) Read Isaiah 53:6. Are you one of the sheep? Even today?
4) Read Isaiah 53:7. How does this passage describe the Lamb of God?
5) Read Isaiah 53:10. Who killed Jesus? Who was to blame?
Week 3 – The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery
[1 Peter 1:18-19, Mark 10:44-45, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
Intro: Last week we looked at Isaiah 53, which promised One Who was coming to redeem from their bondage to sin and death… tonight we discuss The Lamb Who Redeems Us from Slavery.
Free: Not bound, confined or detained; having no obligations; capable of moving or turning in any direction.
Slave: Held in servitude; completely subservient.
We were REDEEMED from the empty way of life
1 Peter 1:18-19 – For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. [NIV] Redemption – deliverance from captivity by means of ransom price
With the life of Jesus given as a RANSOM for many
Mark 10:44-45 – And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASV]
We were bought with a high price, so we must HONOR GOD WITH BODY
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. [NLT]
Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
How to live free?
- Accept God’s Word – 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [ESV]
- Accept God’s Grace – Romans 5:18 – Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [ESV]
- Accept God’s Victory – 1 John 5:5 – Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Romans 8:1-4. What does it mean that the law was weakened by the flesh? How did Jesus fulfill the law’s requirement?
2) Read Romans 8:5-9. What are the two types of people? In reading this passage, do you think it is possible for a believer to be living with the mind-set of the flesh and be hostile to God?
3) Read Romans 8:15-17. How is this passage empowering?
4) From tonight’s reading in the book of Romans, what are some of the things the Holy Spirit will help us live out if we live in the Spirit?
Week 4 – The Passover Lamb of Whom We Partake
[1 Corinthians 5:7, Exodus 12:3-14, Matthew 26:26-30]
Passover Lamb – Passover Instituted
Exodus 12:3-14 – Instructions for Passover
The Lord’s Supper Instituted
Matthew 26:26-30 – 3rd cup, Cup of Redemption
Bread – blessed, broken – “Take and eat it; this is My body.”
Cup – “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Cup of Promise – 4th cup “I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” PROMISE TO COME
Handling the Leaven
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
- 3 – Even though I am absent in the body, I am present in spirit.
- 7 – Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
- 8 – Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of SINCERITY and TRUTH.
Remove old yeast – sin/sinner
We are to be the new unleavened batch
- Sincerity of mind & integrity of character (Pure inner motives)
- Truth – divine truth / God’s Truth
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Looking at Exodus 12, in what ways did the Passover lamb protect the families of God’s people?
2) How is the Passover lamb in Exodus similar to the sacrifice of Christ?
3) Read Matthew 26:28. How could these words fill us with sorrow? Why should these words fill us with joy?
4) Read Matthew 26:29. How does the celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipate a future celebration with Jesus? How does this give you hope?
5) Read Exodus 12:11. How is this in relation with how we approach the Lord’s Supper?
Week 5 – The Triumphant Lamb We Worship
Jesus has fierceness & fearlessness of a Lion (v. 5) and tenderness and humility of a Lamb (v. 6).
- Scroll is the action plan
- Scroll is an Action Plan to judge, cleanse, and prepare the nations for Jesus’ rule over Earth, while bringing the Church to maturity and into unity with redeemed Israel.
- Scroll is the Title Deed to the Earth
- By taking the scroll, He accepted responsibility to cleanse and rule Earth.
Jesus is the only Man found worthy, deserving, and capable to take scroll from Father.
- Who is worthy? No one.
- John wept bitterly.
- He hears – Lion of Tribe of Judah – Lion – boldness, strength, fierceness
- He sees – Lamb Slain – Lamb – humility, gentleness, weakness, submission
He alone could redeem us:
- He was related to us (Man of God)
- He was willing to do it
- He was able to pay the price
Highest government council around throne. (Living angels – angelic, elders – human)
They fell awestruck before the worthy Man and boldly proclaimed their agreement with the Father’s decree to make Jesus supreme leader of whole Earth forever.
Because of His obedience to death, God highly exalted Jesus in heaven and on earth
Philippians 2:8-10 – And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [NIV]
Breakout Session Questions:
1) Read Psalm 96:1-9. This Psalm speaks of the King of the earth and provides reasons to worship. What are some of the reasons listed?
2) Read Psalm 96:6-12. This passage speaks of the need to “ascribe to the Lord.” What does it mean to “ascribe to the Lord”? This passage speaks of our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness? In verse 10, it says, “Say among the nations,” which is again pointing to our witness. When considering this passage, what are we supposed to be sharing when we witness?
3) Read Psalm 96:11-13. How does this passage describe worship? How does this description change the way you think about worship? This Psalm ends waiting for what? How does this relate to tonight’s look at Revelation?
You have likely glanced in the mirror recently. Each morning I catch a few glances in the mirror while getting ready to start the day. But then I walk away and the mirror does not follow. As you go along through your day, you are not continuously looking at yourself. You cannot remember all of the fine details that you saw earlier in the day.
When we read in James about the mirror glances, it is compared to people listening to God’s Word and then walking away as if it was not even heard. This letter speaks about the need to have God’s Word written on your heart so that you can remember what you have read and heard. It also reminds us that we simply cannot be hearers of the Word, but we must also be doers on the Word. If you live out the Word (instead of the glance and then fading away), the Word is not only in your heart but demonstrated for others to get a glance too.
Today, have you read the Word? Have you taken some time to sit down and read a passage, a verse, a chapter of the Bible? Have you glanced and went back to your day, or have you taken what you have read and put it to memory? If people would look at your day, would they see God’s Word being lived out or are you taking mirror glances?
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” – James 1:22-25 [NLT]
Jesus said that we could not serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We know it’s true. Time and time again we find ourselves with divided loyalty. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates it as “an indecisive man… unstable in all his ways.” Other translations say “double-minded.” That wasn’t even a word until it appeared in the Bible!
All of us have a divided loyalty. We can say we are devout Christians and that we have placed God first, however, we are still in this world and we are still in the flesh. Romans 7:15 says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (NLT). This is the Apostle Paul saying that he wants to do what is right, but yet he doesn’t do it. He recognizes that we have a sinful nature. The struggle is real. We keep on doing evil.
As we are living in this world, trying to live for Jesus, we need to keep in mind that our loyalties are divided a times. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your focus on His Word. When the world tries to pull you closer, remember that we are not of this world. God has a bigger plan for you and I, and it requires a desire for Him. Always aim to take steps toward Him, and the loyalty will become less and less divided, and more and more God-centered.
“Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” – James 1:8 [NLT]
We live in a world full of choices. Sometimes I stand before a menu or I look to make a purchase of coffee or gum, and I wonder what to decide. We have so many choices, so many options. But when we look at life, there is no gray area. We have life and death. We have a blessing and a curse. God’s Word is very clear. You have the choice. He paved the way.
Don’t complicate God’s Word. The options are clear. You can choose life or death, heaven or hell, a blessing or curse. The world tells you that God sends people to hell; that is a lie. People choose hell. God’s Word is very clear. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:13). Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned.
Today, look at the big choice you have made. Have you made the choice of life or death, prosperity or disaster? Have you made the choice between a blessing and a curse? Do not think because you are good, that you are going to heaven. Only those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will find everlasting life. Know this truth. Share this truth. Don’t love your family and friends to hell. Tell them that there is only one way to the Father, and His Name is JESUS (John 14:6).
“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!” – Deuteronomy 11:26 [NLT]
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19 [NLT]
I was driving my son to the dentist when the truck in front of my van suddenly slowed down, but there were no brake lights. As we got to the fork in the road, the turn signal apparently didn’t work either. Without the signals, driving is not as easy. The signals are a way for drivers of the vehicles to communicate to each other. This makes it clear as to the direction the drivers are taking, and when a vehicle is slowing down or stopping.
Signals are nice. I prefer signals. In life, we have signals for driving. We also have signals (or warnings) when the stove burners are still on (or hot) or when bad weather is approaching. There are other signals too, signals that we have from reading God’s Word. As we read the Bible, we receive the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will remind us of His Word as we do life. We will better know how to navigate in life when we are receptive to Him. We will know when to turn, when to hit the brakes, and when we are off course.
Today, dig into God’s Word. Understand that if you aren’t in His Word, the Spirit cannot remind you of what you received. Often we say God is silent, but we don’t intentionally pursue Him. God is not hiding my friend. If you want to know Him, seek Him. If you want to know His will for your life, walk with Him. Spend time in His presence. Sit with Him. Converse with Him. Engage with Him. Seek and you will find.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13 [NIV]
Even though Lot chose the land to the east, it didn’t remove the promise of God. Remember, God promised Abram descendants, land, and blessing. Lot making a choice for some land, does not cancel a promise of God. No one can take away from the Word of God. This is why it is so vital for us to have His Word written in our hearts. This is why it is so important for us to be deep in the Word, reading it, meditating on it, cherishing it. So that we know these promises. So that we know what He says, what He commands, what He desires. So that we know Him.
Abram was given these promises and these promises would stand. Abram never saw all of the promises come to fruition; his descendants did. At this moment in the narrative, as Lot goes in one direction and Abram is to go the other, it would appear as if this promise of land would now not happen. That’s how you and I think so often. Well I guess this won’t happen now. God says this, God promises that, but I’m not seeing anything appear to be moving in that direction. At this point, God told Abram to stand and walk the land He would deliver.
Arise, walk into the promise of God. That’s basically what He told Abram. Arise, walk into the promise of God. See, God promises you and I a lot. He promises you things. Look into His Word. Read His promises. Speak to Him. Through the Holy Spirit, He will reveal His Word to you. Listen. You will read of His promises. But these promises do not just fall upon you. The world will tell you they aren’t true. Some will make you think they couldn’t possibly happen. You will look around and think that it’s never going to come to fruition. Arise, walk into the promise of God. Stand up. Walk forward in faith. Embrace the promises of God. Hold onto them. Trust that He will deliver.
“Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” – Genesis 13:17 [ESV]
This is the time of the year when things start to get interesting as I leave the house for my morning walks with my dogs. The mornings are starting off a bit darker than before, so I find myself fumbling around to attach their leashes to their harnesses. As I walk by the arborvitaes bushes, I do the quite routine, yet not-so-normal to onlookers, flinging of my left hand in front of me to feel for webs so I don’t walk into a spider web and forever be itching for the rest of the day.
As I get myself ready in the morning, I am pretty good at feeling my way around. I am familiar with the same walk, the same location of items, the same surroundings. I know what is supposed to be there if the sun was lighting the path. But even so, even though I know what is supposed to be around me, I do not see everything. We do not see everything around us. There is a great battle happening. The angel armies of God are all around us, protecting us, shielding us, battling it out against the evil that lurks all about us.
There have been moments when I considered what is going on around me. I know my imagination is nothing close to reality. But I also know that we serve an awesome God, and He has already won the victory. I know as well that He promises that NOTHING can snatch us from His hand (John 10:28). Find rest in His refuge. Find confidence in His victory. Find strength in His power. Keep pressing onward. The battle is around us, but we will win this fight my friends! The God of Angel Armies is fighting for us each and every moment. You do not even know how great the fight is—but you know the Victor—and you know the length He will go for you.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 [NLT]
When God sends the plague of flies, He says that He will make a “clear distinction” between the people. Everyone would know what people were His people and what people were not His people. The actual word used for “distinction” is “peduth,” which means division, ransom, or redemption.
Today, there should be a clear distinction of God’s people as well. You will not see this division by looking at where the flies hang out. Instead, the distinction should be something everyone visibly sees by the way a person lives. A person who is a child of God should stand out as a rebel. A person who is a child of God should not look like a person of this world. Remember, God’s people are not of this world. We should not be transformed by this world—we should be transforming the world.
Continue to shine for Jesus. Focus on what is good, pure, and lovely. Don’t allow the world to infiltrate your life, but instead, spread God’s Word through your words and your deeds. By living this way, there will be a clear distinction between you and the world. By the way you live your life, people will know that you are a child of God. By the way you live your life, people will see Jesus.
“I will make a clear distinction between My people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.” – Exodus 8:23 [NLT]