We live in a broken world, a world filled with pain and suffering and things that are not right. From the very beginning, when God created the world, He foreknew that sin would enter the world. He knew that brokenness would be a way of life for us. He knew that nothing could be done to save the brokenness without Him moving in a mighty way.
God sent His one and only Son to save us, to redeem us, to pay a price we could not pay. He reached out to restore us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father. Because Jesus suffered the wrath that was to be our punishment, we can enjoy His “wrap-around presence.” This is because God has stooped down to us to bring us back into His holy presence.
When the world is beating you down, when you are lost in your brokenness, be reminded of the stooping down gentleness of God. Who am I that He would even consider me? Yet, our God moves through the brokenness with gentleness. He does not attack our brokenness, but beautifully works through it and makes us new. Strange enough, when we take something broken and try to repair it, the end result is never something better. Superglue and duct tape only go so far. But we serve a God of the impossible. With God, we are a masterpiece. He makes us great—better than we ever were. With Him moving through us, navigating through the brokenness, each day we are made more into the image of His Son. All because He has stooped down in gentleness.
“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” – Psalm 18:35 [TPT]
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?
We can glean a lot from the leadership of Moses. This picture we get of him standing in the breach is one that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Don’t stop reading with the excuse that you are not a leader. Everyone is leading someone. The question is—do you stand in the breach?
First, you have to know what it means that Moses stood before God in the breach. When you consider a breach, picture a wall. You have a wall for protection. This wall works great so long as it remains intact. However, there are moments when there is a breach in the wall—a breakdown of the wall at some point that makes the wall ineffective. Now whatever you are trying to keep out is now coming through this break in the wall. When soldiers are protecting an area and there is a breach, the soldiers will use their own bodies to stand at the breach to continue to ensure the area is protected.
When we look at Moses and this picture of him standing before God in the breach, we see a leader who is concerned for the Israelites, the people he was leading. Despite their sin, their shortcomings and failures, he cared for the people. He sought for their best interest. He stood between them and God and made his plea of intercession. He recognized their weakness. He recognized their sin, but he did not let that change the way He cared for them. He sought the mercy of God. He prayed for the people.
As a leader, the most important thing is to care for the people you are leading—to love them. Love them like Jesus loves them. Love them with all that you are and love them despite their shortcomings and failures. Look at them as God sees them. Do all you can to stand in the breach. Pray for them. Give them your very best as you pour into their lives. Treat your time with them as precious. Don’t sell them short. Don’t treat them as a number or a task. Seek their best interest always. Love them. Love them like Jesus.
“So he said he would have destroyed them–if Moses his chosen one had not stood before him in the breach to turn his wrath away from destroying them.” – Psalm 106:23 [CSB]
The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.
Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.
Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?
Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]
God is good to everyone. Yes, everyone! This is tough for some people to grasp. Because God is good, He is good to everyone. This means that He will be good to even those people we do not think deserve good. This also means that He only does good things. When something bad is happening in your life, it’s possible that He allowed it—but He does not pour out evil. So often people credit God to things and they miss the boat.
Today, recognize that God is good and He is good to everyone. As well, He calls us to be share in His goodness and spread it. Be intentional with your encounters today. Ask the Spirit if you are not being good to some people. Ask to be more compassionate.
“The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” – Psalm 145:9 [NLT]
Something that I have been thinking about a lot is usefulness. There are moments when we have items in our home that are not useful to us. Sometimes we have apps on our devices that are not useful. Maybe at a time they seemed useful, but things have changed. But usefulness isn’t only something we consider as objects or possessions. People can be useful or not useful too.
Paul was writing to Philemon about the runaway servant Onesimus. He tells Philemon about this change that has occurred. Yes, Onesimus was deserving of punishment, which could have meant a death sentence. It was within the legal limits. But Paul mentions this great conversion of Onesimus. Not only did he give his life to Jesus, but in doing so, he became useful. In saying, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” he became useful. God had big plans for Onesimus!
If someone would consider your usefulness, what would they say? Would they describe you as very useful? Do you think you are very useful? Or is something getting in the way? That something could even be you! Truth be told, you have a great purpose. God has known this since the very beginning. It is a purpose that I pray you embrace and pour yourself into as an offering. Aim today to come to terms with this usefulness, and if the Spirit convicts you, follow His leading. It is a very dangerous prayer to say, “Use me.” Yet is a prayer than can help position you for what God has already prepared. Be useful. Plant for a good harvest.
“Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.” – Philemon 1:11 [NLT]
As it nears my son’s sixteenth birthday, there is great expectation. This is a big day for any teenager. When I consider the months and weeks prior to his birth, there was great expectation. He was my first child. I didn’t know what to expect, but I spent a lot of time considering who he would be and couldn’t wait to meet him.
In 1 Peter 1, we read about our great hope. In verse 3, Peter talks about how “we live with great expectation.” We live with this great expectation because “we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.” We know that because of this, “we have a priceless inheritance” (v. 4). The Bible also tells us that God is protecting us “by His power” until the day comes when we receive the revelation of our salvation.
Some of us have lost the joy of this great expectation. We are so focused on this world that we cannot be “truly glad” that “there is wonderful joy ahead” (v. 6). Perhaps our trials have hardened our hearts. God reminds us that this is on “for a little while.” The trials “show that your faith is genuine” (v. 7). Today, be reminded of our great hope, our great expectation. Remember, “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (v. 8).
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.” – 1 Peter 1:3 [NLT]
In Psalm 28:5, we read about a people who care nothing for what God has done or for what God has made. Consider this for a moment. The person cares nothing for what the Lord has done. The person cares nothing for what God’s hands have made. In this verse we read about 1) acknowledging God – Who He is and what He has done, and 2) caring for what God has made.
The people did not care about God, about what He made, about what He did. They lacked adoration for God. They lacked compassion for His Creation. This includes lacking compassion for people. These people were doing the opposite of what Jesus says is most important: Love God, love people.
“Care nothing” can be seen as disregard or lack of consideration. The Message translates this as the people having “no idea how God works or what He is up to.” It all points back to acknowledging the Lord and desiring a relationship with Him, wanting to know Him more. As you have this regard for Him, as you grow in your relationship with Him, you will grow in your love for the things He loves. You will care for what He has done and for what His hands have made.
“They care nothing for what the LORD has done or for what His hands have made. So He will tear them down, and they will never be rebuilt!” – Psalm 28:5 [NLT]
Jesus gave His life so that we can be free. We are free from every kind of sin. Jesus gave His life so that we can be cleansed. Because He carried all of our sins, because He paid the penalty of our sin, we are redeemed. We are cleansed by His cleansing blood. He made the atonement. He paid the price. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are made righteous through faith. Because of Jesus, we have the opportunity to be God’s very own people.
When God created man, He created man to live with Him. He walked with Adam and Eve before the Fall. After the Fall, God still had a heart for His very own people. With Abraham, He made covenant. He promised blessing and descendants and land. As the descendants multiplied, the Israelites were His very own people; however, they continued to go astray. Every time they fell away, God brought them back. Every time they went against God, He forgave them and showed them mercy.
Today, God wants you to be His very own. He has offered you freedom. He has offered you cleaning. He has offered you a new life. He loves you. Take the step today to reach back to the One Who always has His arms reaching towards you.
“He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” – Titus 2:14 [NLT]
People many times say that God is hiding from them, that they cannot tell if He’s around. The truth is that God never moved—you did! Again and again, we read in the Bible of people who fall short, people who do not walk with God. A holy God cannot look sin in the face. Even so, God is gracious and merciful. Again and again, He forgives us. Each day we are offered the opportunity of a daily cleansing, a new day. It is through Jesus Christ alone that we are able to stand before the throne as white as snow.
In Zechariah 1, we read about a call to return to the Lord. Zechariah declares what the Lord says, “Return to me… and I will return to you.” It’s that simple. Don’t allow it to be complicated. Don’t allow people to put stumbling blocks between you and God. Don’t think His grace and mercy are for everyone but you. Return to Him and He will return to you.
Every day we have an opportunity to decide which road we will take. Every day we can move closer to Jesus or in the opposite direction. When we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, take time to reach out to Him. He’s already reaching out to you.
“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 1:3 [ESV]