Tag Archives: sermon outline

Carols Series: Fall on Your Knees Outline

Worship the King

Matthew 2:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

O Holy Night

O holy night the stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new glorious morn

Fall on your knees

O hear the angels’ voices

O night divine

O night when Christ was born

O night divine o night

O night divine

 

Strong’s Concordance

barak: to kneel, bless

Transliteration: barak

Phonetic Spelling: (baw-rak’)

Definition: to kneel, bless

Showing respect, give something of value to another

 

Psalm 103:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

Psalm 103:11-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

14 For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

 

Psalm 29:2 English Standard Version (ESV)

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

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People of God Series Outlines

People of God: Week 1 – Moses

[Exodus 1-4]

Exodus 1 – The Plan of the New King

The Israelites are still in Egypt

Joseph & all his brothers died (1:6)

The Israelites multiplied – powerful & filled the land (1:7)

New king in power – he did not know anything about Joseph (1:8)

New king decides planned to keep Israelites from growing even stronger (1:9-22)

Make Israelites their slaves & overwork them

When Israelite women give birth, kill the boys 

Exodus 2 – The Plan of Moses’ Parents

Levite woman became pregnant (2:1)

She gave birth to a baby boy & hid him 3 months (2:2)

Sent him sailing in basket on Nile River (2:3)

Adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (2:10)

Exodus 3 & 4 – The Plan of God

1 – Attention toward God to hear

Moses sees a burning bush not consumed (3:3)

God will get our attention in any way He desires

2 – Responding to God (“I’m listening” or “I’m your humble servant”)

Moses says, “Here I am” (3:4)

3 – Recognition and reverence of the Lord’s presence and His plan

Remove your sandals (3:5)

I am God (3:6)

4 – Accept His glorious plan

God told Moses “You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” (3:10)

EXCUSES GET IN THE WAY OF FULLY EMBRACING THE PLAN

Who am I? (3:11) 

Doesn’t matter. I’m with you. I qualify you.

Who are You? (3:13) – what if the people ask for your name?

I AM WHO I AM (3:14)

What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? (4:1)

Perform these signs

Hand of a leper (4:6-7)

Nile River turned to blood (4:8-9)

But I’m not good with words (4:10)

Who makes the mouth? (4:11)

Lord, please! Send anyone else (4:13)

What about your brother Aaron? He will be your mouthpiece (4:14-16)

OBSTACLES BEFORE EVEN STEPPING FORWARD

God tells Moses Pharaoh’s heart will be hardened and he will refuse to listen. 

What is the difference between a calling and being called by God? Are we all called by God?

 

How can we better fix our attention toward God to hear?

 

 What is involved when responding to God? How should we respond?

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION: 

What is keeping you from His glorious plan? 

What excuses are you giving?

———————————————

People of God: Week 2 – Pharaoh

[Exodus 5-15]

Stepping Up and Standing Firm for God

Exodus 5 – Moses goes to Pharaoh – “Let my people go”

Who is the Lord? (v. 2)

Why should I listen to Him? (v. 2)

Why are you distracting people from tasks? (v. 4)

God’s work is NOT a distraction, but the world sees it otherwise.

They are just lazy (v. 8)

Load them down with more work – That will teach them to listen to lies (v. 9)

Moses returns to the LORD and protests:

Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people? (v. 22)

Why did you send me? (v. 23)

You have done nothing. (v. 23)

Exodus 6 – I heard the groans THEREFORE

I will free you

I will rescue you

I will redeem you

I will claim you

More excuses – Exodus 6:12, 30 – “my own people won’t listen to me anymore,” “I’m such a clumsy speaker”

Serpent (Staff) – Aaron’s staff swallowed up the staffs of Egyptian magicians

Plagues

Blood – magicians could do it too / Pharaoh refused to listen

Frogs – magicians could do it too / Pharaoh begs for the frogs to be removed. He will bet people go so they can offer sacrifices

Gnats  – magicians fail & say “this is the finger of God” / Pharaoh refused to listen

Flies – Pharaoh says go and offer sacrifices “HERE IN THIS LAND” / Moses says they must take 3-day trip / Pharaoh says okay but “don’t go too far away”

Livestock – Pharaoh refused to listen

Boils – Even the magicians were unable to stand before Moses / Pharaoh refused to listen

Hail – Some of Pharaoh’s officials were afraid / Never in all history of Egypt had there been storm like that / Pharaoh says, “This time I have sinned. The LORD is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. Please beg the LORD to end this … We’ve had enough. I will let you go”

Locust – Pharaoh says, “Go and worship the LORD… but who exactly will be going with you.” / Moses says, “We will ALL go… we MUST all join together in celebrating a festival to the LORD.” / Pharaoh threw them out.

Darkness – People could not see each other so no one moved / Pharaoh says, “Go and worship… but leave your flocks & herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.” / Moses says, “No, you must provide us with animals for sacrifices & burnt offerings.” / Pharaoh says, “Get out of here. I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die.” / Moses response: “Very well. I will never see your face again.” – PHARAOH SHUT THE DOOR

 Firstborn – Loud wail for Egyptians, “so peaceful” for Israelites -1st Passover 

Mark of blood – protection from death

All plagues to this point are not sufficient to free God’s people until death of firstborn sons. All sacrificial systems Israel instituted are not sufficient, until the death of God’s only Son.

Exodus 12:35-36 – Egyptians gave Israelites things just as God said

Red Sea (Exodus 14:13):

Don’t be afraid

Stand still

Watch

“They were filled with awe before Him. They put their faith in the LORD and in His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31)

Read Exodus 5:1-5. Pharaoh asks questions everyone asks at times (usually before knowing Jesus). 

What are the three questions? Answer the three questions.

Read Exodus 14:13. Moses tells the people three things.

What are the three things? How can we do these three things?

PERSONAL REFLECTION: 

Are you stepping up?

Are you standing firm?

————————————

People of God: Week 3 – Complaints

[Exodus 15-17]

We all face things that can make us BITTER or BETTER.

Look for the treasure in every trial. WE ARE BLESSED!

[Philippians 2:14-15] “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” 

Marah (15)

Left Red Sea – desert of Shur – found no water for 3 days – when found water, it was bitter

v. 24 “Then the people COMPLAINED and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’ they demanded.” 

Manna & Quail (16)

Went to wilderness of Sin – a month after Egypt departure

v. 2 “The whole community of Israel COMPLAINED about Moses and Aaron.” Actual COMPLAINTS against God, not Moses and Aaron (see v. 7)

v. 3 “IF ONLY the LORD had killed us back in Egypt.”

TESTED – whether or not follow God’s instructions 

GOT TO SEE GOD’S GLORY (see v. 10-11)

Evening – meat / Morning – bread {Ate manna for 40 years}

“IT’S THE FOOD THE LORD HAS GIVEN YOU TO EAT.” (v. 15)

Everyone had JUST ENOUGH (v. 18)

Don’t keep leftovers – TRUST

SABBATH – God’s gift to you (v. 29) – told to rest, went out anyway 

Massah & Meribah (17)

Left wilderness of Sin – camped at Rephidim

No water to drink.

v. 2 “So once more the people complained against Moses.”

Moses said: “Quiet! Why are you COMPLAINING against me? And why are you testing the LORD?”

Tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses – “why did you bring us out of Egypt?” (v. 3)

Strike the rock. Water will gush out. People will drink. 

Massah “test” – people tested the Lord / Meribah “arguing” – Israel argued with Moses

Complaining and Lamenting are different. 

Crying out to God (Lament) – Psalm 142:1-2 – looks to hope in God

He wants us to pour out what is on our heart.

Complaining has no hope.

COMPLAINTS DECLARE THAT GOD IS NOT good, faithful, loving, wise, or powerful.

Complaints ignore God’s potential – focused on negative

Gossip, slander, false witness, jump to wrong conclusion

Every time you feel like complaining—thank God instead

[Colossians 4:2] Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Read Exodus 16:1-3. 

The whole community of Israel complained. What was the “if only”?

 

What are we doing when we have our own “if only” moments?

 

How can we keep ourselves from having “if only” moments?

 

Read Exodus 16:4-5. God says He will test to people and see if they follow instructions. Why was the test necessary?

 

Read Exodus 16:17-18. How much did they have?

 

Read Exodus 16:26-30. 

What did they find on the 7th day? Why?

 

What does it mean that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift?

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION:

Have you been lamenting or complaining?

How can you live with an attitude of gratitude?

——————————————-

People fo God: Week 4 – Jethro

[Exodus 18]

[Psalm 90:12] “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” [NIV]

v. 13 – Moses sat before the people and heard disputes from MORNING TILL EVENING – ALL DAY!!!

v. 14 – Jethro asks – WHAT ARE YOU REALLY ACCOMPLISHING HERE?

WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DO ALL THIS ALONE?

V. 15-16 – Moses responds – Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God

I am the one who settles the cases

I inform the people of God’s decrees & give His instructions

v. 17 – Jethro says – THIS IS NOT GOOD

You’re going to wear yourself out

You’re going to wear the people out

The job is too heavy a burden

Continue to be the people’s representative before God

Teach them God’s decrees

Give them instructions

Show them how to conduct their lives

DELEGATION

Select from all the people others to assist

Capable, honest, fear God, hate bribes

Appoint them as leaders of groups: 1000, 100, 50, 10

Only bring major issues to you

They will help carry the load, making it easier for you

All the people will go home in peace

Read Exodus 18:14. 

What are the two main questions Jethro asked Moses? 

Try to answer these two questions from your own personal experience.

What is the danger of doing this?

When Jethro told Moses how to delegate, he gave a description of the people to be chosen. What qualities were mentioned? Why are these qualities so important?

  

PERSONAL REFLECTION: Where do you need to delegate more? What do you need to let go? How can you equip & empower others?

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People of God: Week 5 – Sinai

[Exodus 19-40]

Faithful obedience for harmony & order

Ten Commandments – God’s absolutes for how to live

[Ecclesiastes 12:13] Fear God (because He is greater), Keep commands  Whole duty of man

Exodus 19:1-8 {Lord reveals Himself at Sinai}

Exodus 20 / Exodus 34 {10 Commandments}

First 4 – Teach how to LOVE GOD, Last 6 – Teach how to LOVE OTHERS

No Other God v. 3 [Romans 1:25]

No Idols v. 4-5

No Name in Vain v. 7 (“God bless you” or “Praise the Lord” but don’t mean it) [Luke 6:46] “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?

Observe Sabbath v. 8

Honor Parents v. 12

No Murder v. 13

No Adultery v. 14

No Stealing v. 15

No Lying v. 16 (Lying – Slander & Gossip, Flattery, Exaggeration, Silence)

No Coveting v. 17

Ten Commandments catch everyone in sin  Only hope of salvation is JESUS

[Romans 5:20-22] God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[Romans 3:19] Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.

[Galatians 3:24] Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.

Jesus quotes Exodus 20:12-17

Matthew 5:27 (Sermon of Mount) – Adultery “just looking”

Mark 7:10 – Honor your parents

Luke 18:20 (Rich Man) – Adultery, Murder, Steal, Lying, Parents

[Matthew 5:17-18] Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.

[Mark 12:30-31] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these

Exodus 32-33 {Gold Calf}

[Hebrews 9:22] In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.

Exodus 33:16 Your presence among us

Exodus 33:18 Show me your glory

Exodus 34:6-7 God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin

Augustine said, “Love God and do as you please”

Read Exodus 20:1-17. Read Mark 12:30-31.

The first four commandments teach us how to love God. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Explain how each of these four commandments teach us how to love God

How can we live this out? (How can we be intentional about following commands?)

The last six commandments teach us how to love others. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Explain how each of these six commandments teach us how to love others.

 

How can we live this out? (How can we be intentional about following commands?)

————————————————-

People of God: Week 6 – Scouts

[Numbers 13-14]

The LORD commands that one leader from each Israelite tribe explore the land of Canaan (13:1-2) … THE LAND I AM GIVING TO THE ISRAELITES

Moses gives instructions for intel mission (13:18) 

See what the land is like—good or bad, walled or unprotected, soil quality, trees, crop samples

Find out if the people there are strong or week, few or many

Explored the land for 40 days (number of testing)

Single cluster of grapes so large it took two people to carry (13:23)

Land flowing with milk & honey (13:27)

BUT… (13:28)

People living there are powerful… even giants there 

Towns are large & fortified

Courageous Caleb – tries to quiet the people (13:30)

Let’s go at once to take the land

We can certainly conquer it

The People Rebel

If only we had died in Egypt… If only we had died in the Wilderness (14:2)

Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt (14:3)

The Faithful Few: Joshua & Caleb

Tore their clothing (14:6)

Wonderful land (14:7)

Lord will bring us safely into the land & give it to us (14:8)

Do not rebel & don’t be afraid of the people (14:9)

The LORD is with us!

People wanted to stone them 

Glory of LORD appeared to the Israelites

How long will these people treat me with contempt? 

Will they never believe me, even after the miraculous signs?

God wants to disown & destroy them – Moses intercedes for the people

God punishes everyone but the faithful few – “a different attitude” (14:24)

40 days = 40 years (14:34)

Ten Fearful struck dead (14:37)

More Rebellion

People wanted to go anyway – “we are ready now” (14:40)

It’s too late – they go anyway & are chased back (14:41-45)

What were the reasons given by the fearful scouts? 

What was their focus?

What was the faith over fear response given by the faithful few (Caleb & Joshua)?

What was their focus?

Read Numbers 14:24. What is this “different attitude” all about?

Read Psalm 34:4. What does it mean to be freed from all your fears?

Personal Reflection: What are your biggest fears? Are these fears keeping you from walking in faith? Pray that the Spirit will reassure you of His promises and strengthen you in your walk.

——————————————

People of God: {ASH WEDNESDAY 2017}

Stand in Awe

Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of Him. [Psalm 33:8]

Lent is a season of fasting and renewal. When you fast (stop doing something), but you also replace it with something else—something beneficial to your relationship with Jesus. 

For this Lenten season, let us stand in awe and worship our God. We were made to worship God, to glorify God. But as we go through our days, we often add other things to the mix.

[LEVITICUS 10]

Unauthorized fire – Hebrew word “zara” means strange, from outside

[Leviticus 10:3]

“’Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.”  Aaron remained silent. [NIV]

“I must be treated as holy”

Holy is used more often as a prefix to God’s name more than any other attribute in Scripture.

Holy – “Set Apart” – [Exodus 3:14] I AM WHO I AM

[Revelation 22:13] He is the Alpha. The Omega. The First. The Last. The Beginning. The End.

[Revelation 1:8] He was and is and is to come.

[1 Samuel 2:2] Hannah says – “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you.”

As we see in this story in Leviticus, the closer you are to God – the more careful you need to be about His holiness so not to dishonor God.

The sad thing is not only do some people treat the things of God with contempt, but they also can cause others to follow suit, as possible with this instance with the strange fire.

During this Lenten season, let us ask…

What are you adding to your offering to God that isn’t meant to be there?

What is getting in the way of you fully offering yourself to Him? Fully worshiping Him as He deserves?

[Exodus 33:20] We read about Moses asking to see God’s glory….  God’s holiness is so blindingly radiant we cannot see it and live. Moses had to be hidden behind a rock for the glory of God to pass by.

It was this Holy Ground that required man to remove the unclean shoes and hide his face.

[Isaiah 6:1-4]

Only when we encounter God in His holiness is it possible for us to see our own self – “I am a sinful man”

This is something we must all come to recognize. I AM A SINNER!

Today, we don’t tread on the same Holy Ground as Moses. We don’t have the same need for a veil to shield us from the glory. Instead, we have the glory of God within us because of Christ. 

[2 Corinthians 4:3-7] If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.  You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Our foreheads are marked tonight by ashes as we are reminded that we are but dust, that we are like fragile clay jars containing the great treasure from God Himself. We are reminded that without Jesus, we are nothing. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Our lives are marked WITH AND FOR CHRIST.

This should lead us to Awe * Worship * Adoration

[Isaiah 40:12-31] God has no equal

God….

Loves perfectly

Speaks perfectly

Creates perfectly

Acts perfectly

Chooses perfectly

Teaches perfectly

Disciplines perfectly

[Exodus 15:11] 

Who is like YOU – 

glorious in holiness, 

awesome in splendor, 

performing great wonders

What is keeping you from falling at his feet? 

In Revelation 1:17, John sees Jesus and he immediately falls at His feet. 

What’s keeping you from this? 

What’s keeping you from the AWE?

A – Always thankful [1 Thessalonians 5:18] CONTINUALLY THANKFUL

W – Worship everywhere – IN ALL THAT YOU DO AND SAY [Colossians 3:17] – this isn’t just singing (everything you do should point to Him)

You should continually be aware of His presence everywhere.

E – Eyes on Him – Eyes on Jesus [Hebrews 12:2] Perfecter of Faith

Consider the ashes on your forehead this evening… here’s a picture of what is coming…

[Revelation 22:3-5] No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” [Revelation 4]

——————————————

People of God: Week 8 – Rebellion

[Numbers 16-17]

Respecting authority… Respecting God’s plan… Honor Who He has chosen…

Korah’s Rebellion [16]

Korah – Levite (descendent of one of Levi’s three sons Kohath)

Dathan

Abiram

On – Reubenite

Whole community set apart [v. 3]

What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?

Tomorrow God will show us who belongs to Him and who is holy

The Lord will allow only those whom He selects to enter His own presence

To the Levites, says – Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near Him, so you can serve the Lord & minister to the people. [v. 9]

Korah has already been given this special ministry. Are you demanding priesthood? [v. 10]

The Rebellion

Dathan & Abiram refused to come [v. 12-14] – no respect for authority

Korah stirred up the ENTIRE COMMUNITY [v. 19]

Took something that could have been addressed in a peaceful way and handled it by attempting to overpower – how can you overpower God Almighty? 

Getting a group of people emotionally charged against God does nothing to help his cause. 

Why did Korah take this disagreement and allow it to be a stumbling block for so many? 

Is it not worse to lead others to hell with you? Misery loves company.

Glory of the Lord appeared

Told Moses & Aaron to move

Moses interceded on behalf of the people

Get away from the wicked

Swallowed up [v. 28-35]

Aaron stands between them [v. 41-50]

Aaron’s Bud [17:1-10]

12 wooden staffs to represent each tribe 

Buds will sprout on staff of the man I choose.

Read Numbers 16:3. The question is what right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people.  How does God display who belongs to Him today?

 

Verse 5 says that God will allow only those whom He selects to enter His own presence. James tells us that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (see James 4:8). Would that then mean if we draw near to Him, He brings His presence to us? What is involved in this?

 

A question is posed to the Levites. The question was does it seem insignificant to you that God chose you from among Israel to serve the Lord and minister to the people. What is this questions getting at? Have you ever felt that the work you were doing for the Lord was insignificant?

In verse 19, we read that Korah got the entire community stirred up. What is the danger in doing this? What could he have done?

—————————————-

People of God: Week 9 – Balaam

[Numbers 22-24]

Blessing God’s People

[Numbers 22:1-3] Balak, king of Moab, saw everything the Israelites did to the Amorites. He saw how many Israelites there were and was terrified. 

Balak, king of Moab, believed that Israel was threatening him (v.5) so he sent a message to Balaam

“In the morning I will tell you whatever the LORD directs me to say” (v.8)

God asks him, “Who are these men visiting you?” (v. 9) … “Don’t go with them. You are not to curse these people. They have been blessed.” (v. 12)

[Numbers 22:18] But Balaam responded to Balak’s messengers, “Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD my God.

God gives permission  Since they came for you, get up and go with them but do only what I tell you to do (v. 20)

GOD WAS ANGRY (v. 22)

Some say the anger was because he didn’t wait for them to take him and leave. He started the action. Others believe though God allows us to do something, it doesn’t mean He wants us doing it. God would never want someone to curse who He blessed – nor does anyone have the ability to do so. God’s Word stands.

[2 Peter 2:15] They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong.

The Donkey

Angel – standing in the road to block him

Donkey asks, “What have I done to you that deserves your beating three times?”

“You made me look like a fool…. If I had my sword, I would kill you.”

Donkey says “I’m the same donkey you’ve ridden all your life.”

Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he falls to the ground (v. 31)

[Numbers 22:32] “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the LORD demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me.

I HAVE SINNED (v. 34)

Only can say what God has put in my mouth (v. 38)

[Numbers 23:8] How can I curse whom God has not cursed?

[Numbers 23:20] God blessed them  I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot change it. 

Read Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 18:18-19, Numbers 22:12, and Numbers 23:19. Summarize these passages and what King Balak was not grasping about God and blessing.

 

God has made man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). We may be faulty image-bearers but we are made in His image. Throughout His Word, God speaks of the many blessings we receive as children of God, including eternal life and being co-heirs with Christ. As believers, we are called His prized possession. How do we curse both non-believers and believers in our daily lives when we are called to be a blessing? 

 

Read Isaiah 52:7. This verse speaks of beautiful feet that bring good news. This speaks about proclaiming peace, brining good tidings, proclaiming salvation. How does our actions of cursing keep us from being one with beautiful feet?

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 10:24. As the body of Christ, we are called to encourage one another, to build each other up, and to motivate each other to acts of love and good works. Cursing others is opposite these commands. What can we do to aim to be a blessing and not a curse to the body of Christ?

Read Matthew 5:16. When we are living a life that curses others, what does this verse say we are doing or not doing?

 

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People of God: Week 10 – Joshua

[Numbers 20, Deuteronomy 32-34, Joshua 1]

Being Courageous for God

Moses Strikes the Rock [Numbers 20]

Death of Miriam

No water – people rebelled against Moses & Aaron

God commands – speak to rock & it will pour out water

Moses acts – strikes the rock twice with the staff

“You will not lead them into the land I am giving them” (v. 14)

Death of Moses [Deuteronomy 32-34]

Death Foretold [32]

Moses blesses the people [33]

Death [34]

Buried by the Lord (v. 6)

Joshua son of Nun

The Lord’s Charge to Joshua [Joshua 1]

The time has come (v. 1)

No one will be able to stand against you – I am with you (v. 5)

Be strong & courageous (v. 6-7, 9)

Study & obey the Word (v. 8)

Joshua begins his “great work” (v. 10)

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Wilderness. It was nearly time for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land; however, they would not be led by Moses due to his disobedience. Read Deuteronomy 31:1-8 and Joshua 1:1-5.

Before Moses died, he publicly recognized the transfer of power to Joshua. What did he do?

 

After the death of Moses, the Lord speaks to Joshua. What does God tell Joshua?

   

How would you feel being placed into the position of Joshua?

 

God often tells us that the time has come for us to do something. What are some of the promises that He has given us, that He gave to Moses and Joshua?

 

Read Joshua 1:8. What does this verse tell us? What can we do to live this out? Why is this important?

 

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People of God: Week 11 – Jericho

[Joshua 6]

Moving in Rhythm with God

Gates of Jericho tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites (v. 1).

God promises to give Jericho (v. 2).

Instructions:

#1 – to march around the city once a day for six days straight – God, the divine King marking the city as His own. THIS IS MINE.

#2 – seven priest to bear seven trumpets before the ark (this signaled start of a holy war because the ark is God’s throne). THIS IS GOD’S BATTLE.

#3 – seven priests to march seven times on the seventh day (repeated 3 times – signifies perfection). PERFECTION / COMPLETION

#4 – People were to give shout when they heard last blast of horns (giving voice to their faith). VERBALIZING FAITH “I BELIEVE.”

#5 – Each warrior attack the city – GOD HAS PROVIDED VICTORY

God is giving Israel the land but they much make it theirs through faithful obedience.

“It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” – Hebrews 11:30 [NLT]

Rescue of Rahab

“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” – Hebrews 11:31 [NLT]

Rahab and her family were outside the camp (ceremonially unclean) – living with pagans

Rahab now lives with the Israelites (v. 26).

Rahab marries Salmon and gives birth to Boaz (Matthew 1:5)

Boaz marries Ruth  Obed

Obed  Jesse  David  Solomon….. 

Joseph marries Mary  JESUS

Scarlet rope tied to wooden frame symbolizes God’s salvation. 

Jesus wore a scarlet robe while He was mocked and beaten, leading to His death on the cross, for God’s salvation to be offered to all who believe in Him.

God gave the Israelites Jericho. They simply had to show up and move in rhythm with God. 

Move when He says, “Move.” 

Be still when He says, “Be still.” 

Read Joshua 6:2. The verse says, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand.” God is talking to Joshua, telling him to see. Part of moving in rhythm with God involves seeing. What does it mean to see?

 

Why is it so important for us to “see” if we are to move in rhythm with God?

 

A big part of the marching around the walls of Jericho involved silence. We are not told the reason the people had to be quiet. Read Exodus 14:14 and Psalm 46:10-11. Why is silence important to moving in rhythm with God?

 

Notice that God gave Joshua the instructions for all seven days, but Joshua did not do the same thing. He only was giving the instructions as they went along (see v. 10). The people that were marching quietly each day did not know when this would end. They continued to march onward, following the command to march silent. What can we glean from this process?

 

Acts : Church on the Move Outlines

To the Ends of the Earth

 Acts 1:8

Before they moved, they waited [Acts 1:4, Acts 2:1]

For the church to move, the church must be on God’s time – don’t RUSH!

United in Prayer [Acts 1:12-14]

Praying – prayer must be a way of life

United – remember, one purpose of glorifying God

Directed by God [Acts 1:15-26]

Desiring of God’s Word / Understanding the importance of Scripture Fulfilled

Choosing of Matthias to Replace Judas

Repentance First [Acts 2:37-41]

Repentance is necessary for growth — this is SALVATION!

Growth Second [Acts 2:42-47]

Devoted themselves to: 

Teaching

Fellowship

Breaking of Bread

Prayer

Praising God

    — this is NEW LIFE!

Breakout Session Questions

  1. Read Acts 1:8. Who should bear witness to Jesus? Why?

 

  1. Read Acts 1:16-20. This passage discusses the apostles using good discernment to choose a replacement for Judas. 
      1. Why was the replacement necessary? 
      1. What is the difference between God’s revealed will and God’s concealed will? 

C.   How can we understand and obey both?

  1. Read Acts 2:42-45. This passage talks about the behaviors prevalent in the early church. Fellowship is so important to the body of Christ. How does fellowship with Christ and fellowship with believers relate? What does this mean for us?

—————————————————————————————————————

ACTS 4 Being Bold

  • Peter and John faced leadership (same people that wanted Jesus dead)

• By what power or what name have you done this?

– They had just proclaimed the healing in Jesus name

-These leaders already knew – this was why they were seized!

  • Peter was filled by the Holy Spirit

• Filled by the Holy Spirit is different from the first “filling” or “baptized by the Holy

Spirit” / Pentecost / First-believed moment when the Holy Spirit is first received.

– Ephesians 5:18 – “Don’t be drunk with wine… Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” [NLT]

– Allowing God to move through you and have His way

• Galatians 5:25 – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” [ESV]

– No one is filled with the Holy Spirit in this way all the time.

  • Peter and John could not stop speaking about what they have seen and heard (v.20)

• They had to tell people about Jesus and salvation

• They prayed that they be about to speak God’s Word with BOLDNESS

– They did not pray for help to remove the threats

– They did not pray for protection from the threats

– They prayed to continue to share what was on their hearts to share – JESUS!

• God answered their prayers

– The ground was shaking

– The people were all filled with the Holy Spirit

– The people began to speak the Word of God boldly

– There’s an army rising up – To break every chain… (Jesus Culture)

Breakout Session Questions

  1. Read Acts 4:13.
      1. How does the verse describe the men?

B. What does the verse tell us about the importance of spending time with

Jesus?

2. Describe a moment when you kept quiet about your faith? Why do you think

you did this?

3. How is the power of the Holy Spirit related to being bold in sharing your faith?

Why is it so important for us to pray for boldness?

4. What does this boldness look like at DRCC?

——————————————————————————————

Acts 5:17-42 Obey God’s Plan

  • WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN PEOPLE (5:29)
        • When human command contradicts God’s truth, defiance is permitted
  • Gamaliel’s advice (5:38-39)
    • Gamaliel was Pharisee (part of Sanhedrin – leadership council in Israel), led by the High Priest, he was leading rabbi who was Paul’s mentor
    • If this plan or work is of human origin, it will fail
    • If this plan is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them
      • You may even be found fighting against God!
  1. God’s way is above ours (Isaiah 55:8)
  1. God’s plan prevails (Psalm 33:11, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 46:9-10)
  1. Our plan should be God’s plan (Proverbs 16:9)

Scripture test

Much Prayer

Wise Counsel

Breakout Session Questions

1. Read Romans 13:1-7. 1 Peter 2:13-17. What does this passage say about obeying authorities? How should we live according to these passages?

2. When is it okay to disobey the authorities?

3. What does the phrase “fighting against God” mean to you?

4. How could you possibly be found “fighting against God?” (give examples) How could DRCC possibly be found “fighting against God”? (give examples)

5. What can we do individually and as a church to ensure that we are in partnership with God?

——————————————————————————

Know Your Role

Acts 6:1-7

  • Hellenistic Jews (Greek Jews) had complaint against Hebraic Jews (Hebrew / Native Jews)
    • Greek Jews are overlooked in daily distribution
      • This is an issue that needs resolved
      • Orphans & widows needed care (James 1:27)
    • This failure is not necessarily due to sin, but due to human limitations
        • Everyone has a role — a part in the body of Christ
        • People are uniquely designed for a specific role
        • Every role is important
  • “It would NOT be right” (6:2)
    • The Twelve were devoted to preaching the Word of God (6:2)
    • The Twelve were devoted to prayer (6:4)
  • Seven chosen to address daily distribution
    • Good reputation
    • Full of the Spirit
    • Full of wisdom
    • The names are all Greek— putting Greek Jews in charge of managing the distribution more fairly – example of HUMILITY & UNITY!
    • 5 never mentioned again, Stephen – eloquent speaker of Jesus Christ, Phillip – one of the church’s first evangelists!
  • The Word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number (6:7)

 Breakout Session Questions

  1. How did this complaint between the Greek Jews and Hebrew / Native Jews threaten the unity of the Church? How did the Apostles protect the unity of the Church?

2. What were the Apostles devoted to? Why was this so important to the growth of the Church?

3. How are the Spirit and wisdom related? Read 1 Corinthians 12:8.

  1. How did the Seven assist the Apostles?  Read 1 Timothy 3:8-13. How does this passage, along with today’s reading in Acts describe the type of people to select as leaders (deacons)? Why are these qualities so important?

————————————————————————————

Chosen

You Will Be My Witnesses Acts 9:1-25 Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chosen

– Here I Am (v. 10)

• Told WHERE to go — street called Straight, house of Judas

• Told WHO to go to — Saul, man from Tarsus

• Told WHEN to go — at once

• Told WHY he must go – since he is praying there, needs to place hands on him and pray

so his sight can be restored

– BUT this man… (v. 13-14)

• Very evil, Power to harm

– He is my CHOSEN INSTRUMENT (vessel of election) (v. 15)

• He will carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel

• He is chosen to suffer for Jesus Christ

– We are to WITNESS to GOD’s CHOSEN ONES

• They are chosen ones because they will accept Jesus (PREDESTINATION)

– Ephesians 1:4-5 — even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that

we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to

himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

• God wants to freely pour out His grace & mercy on His chosen ones

– 2 Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is

patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach

repentance.

• God has a plan for His chosen ones

– Romans 8:28-30 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together

for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he

foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he

might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also

called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also

glorified.

• You are called to say “Here I Am” to God’s leading you to share Jesus so that His

message of hope and salvation can reach the chosen ones

– 2 Timothy 1:9 — who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our

works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus

before the ages began

– Ephesians 1:11-12 — In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined

according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his

will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

———————————————————————————

Ready to Explain

Acts 8:26-40

  • Philip directed to go to the desert road (8:26)
    • Despite having successful ministry in Samaria (8:5-6)
    • Philip’s obedience resulted in the Good News in Ethiopia
    • Philip is the only one designated as Evangelist in Bible (Acts 21:8)
  • Ethiopian Eunuch traveling in chariot on way home (8:27-28)
    • Went to Jerusalem to worship
      • A eunuch was someone who was castrated for service
      • Deuteronomy 23:1 — Eunuch not permitted to enter assembly of the Lord
      • Ethiopian Eunuch was high official in charge of the treasury
    • Reading from the book of Isaiah
    • He didn’t understand what he was reading – how can I understand unless someone guides me?
  • Philip the Evangelist
    • He followed the Holy Spirit’s leading
    • He was available & prepared to share the Good News (8:26-27)
    • He began to share with Eunuch from where he was at (in book of Isaiah)
    • He explained how Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Isaiah — all about Jesus
  • The Eunuch believed and was baptized
    • What would keep me from being baptized? (8:37)
    • Philip carried away by Spirit of the Lord 
      • Confirmation that he is God’s representative, more work to be done for Gentiles to be brought to Jesus Christ
    • Eunuch went away praising God

Breakout Session Questions

  1. What are some things that you can do to evangelize like Philip?

 

  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being led by the Spirit?

 

  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being ready to share the Good News?

 

  1. How does Philip’s faithful obedience play an important role in the movement of the early church?

 

  1. Why is baptism important?

 

Acts 8:26-40

  • Philip the Evangelist
    • He followed the Holy Spirit’s leading (8:29-30)
    • He was available & prepared to share the Good News (8:26-27)
    • He began to share with Eunuch from where he was at (8:35)
    • He explained how Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Isaiah — all about Jesus (8:35)

Romans 10:14-17

Breakout Session Questions

  1. What are some things that you can do to evangelize like Philip?
  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being led by the Spirit?
  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being ready to share the Good News?
  1. How does Philip’s faithful obedience play an important role in the movement of the early church?
  1. Why is baptism important?

——————————————————————

Courageously Welcoming

Acts 9:26-31

  • Fear kept them from welcoming Saul
    • They didn’t believe he was a disciple
    • They couldn’t see his heart
    • Responded with rejection
  • Barnabas took a chance – stood up for Saul by bringing him to the disciples
    • Trusted God is in control
    • Saw Saul with God’s eyes
    • Responded with courage & and a warm welcome

1. See people as God sees people

John 3:16 — God SO LOVED people

Genesis 1:27— God created people in His image

2. Respond with love and honor

Romans 12:9-10Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Genuine Love — Real, without hidden agenda, not put on

Love like you are loved – John 15:12 — This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Show Honor — (Tee-may’) – a price, value, properly perceive value

Honor by giving of your time & attention

Honor by treating people like they matter — because they do!

Honor by helping people to see their identity in Christ

Honor by encouraging people to aim for greater things

Breakout Session Questions

  1. What is the first thing you typically notice about a person? (Share examples)

 

  1. Has your first impression of a person ever been wrong? (Share examples)
  1. Is there something that hinders you from being a welcoming person?

 

  1. Read Romans 12:9-10. This passage discusses a love that is genuine — a love /devotion for one another with brotherly affection. How would you describe this love? How can we show this love with those at DRCC and beyond the DRCC walls?

 

  1. This passage from Romans also discusses how we should outdo one another in showing honor. How can we do that? What does this do to welcome someone?

 

Acts 9:26-31

  1. See people as God sees people

John 3:16

Genesis 1:27 

2. Respond with love and honor

Romans 12:9-10 

Genuine Love 

  John 15:12 

Show Honor 

Breakout Sessions

  1. What is the first thing you typically notice about a person? (Share examples)
  1. Has your first impression of a person ever been wrong? (Share examples)
  1. Is there something that hinders you from being a welcoming person?

 

  1. Read Romans 12:9-10. This passage discusses a love that is genuine — a love /devotion for one another with brotherly affection. How would you describe this love? How can we show this love with those at DRCC and beyond the DRCC walls?

 

  1. This passage from Romans also discusses how we should outdo one another in showing honor. How can we do that? What does this do to welcome someone?

 

———————————————————————

Grace Disputed

Church on the Move

Acts 15

Always must pay attention when the Gospel is being disputed

  • Issue – some believed unless circumcised, cannot be saved (Jews thought Gentiles should become Jews to become Christians)
  • Response – GRACE!!!
  • GO TO THE PERSON YOU HAVE COMPLAINT AGAINST (v. 2)
  • LISTEN FIRST
    • The people were silent & listened, the people had much debate (v.  7,12)
      • James 1:19 – Quick to listen, Slow to speak, Slow to become angry
    • After hearing, the people responded (v. 13)
  • DISCUSSION WAS GOD-CENTERED
    • v. 19 says we should not cause difficulties among those turning to God
  • DECISION WAS CLEAR
    • Letter & verbal description – made sure final decision was understood
  • PEOPLE WERE SPIRT-LED & UNITED (v. 27-28)
  • HONORED THEM BEFORE LEAVING (v. 32-34)

End result – stronger unity / relationship

* Verse 34 is MISSING

Leader Guide

1. Why is it so important that we stand up when the Gospel of grace is being disputed?

Because of God’s desire that none should perish, we should do all we can to be sure to stand up for God’s grace and ensure people understand and receive His grace— live a life overflowing with God’s amazing grace!

2. This passage we looked at today was attempting to add something to Jesus, meaning that salvation was Jesus plus something else. 

Is this evident today? (give examples)

A lot of people do this by trying to earn salvation while still claiming Jesus… a big one people are guilty of often is gossiping about fellow brothers and sisters — consider how words against those in Christ basically is saying that the brothers and sisters are not “good enough” in Christ which basically again tries to hold them to works. Some people collect gods to ensure they have plenty to cover them (ex: Hinduism).

What is the danger in this?

If a person does not understand that Jesus alone is the Way, people may not receive the salvation that comes through Him alone. If this is something that is happening between one believer and another, it can cause division in the Body.

3. During James’ response, he used Scripture. Why is Scripture so important when trying to resolve conflict?

The truth of God is the great plumb line for every area of life. We certainly could come up with our own answers; however, the truth of God is just, true, and what will stand. There are no opinions and emotions getting in the way when the results are based on God’s Word. There is no better way to determine God’s will in a matter than to read His Word and pray.

4. When you have a conflict with someone, what is typically the hardest thing for you? What do you need to work on? Pray about this.

Answers will vary: Approaching the person first, keeping emotions out of the equation, focusing on God’s Word for the matter, listening first, taking it personal, not acting with love and grace, praying for the other person…

Church on the Move

Acts 15

Always must pay attention when the Gospel is being disputed

  • GO TO THE PERSON YOU HAVE COMPLAINT AGAINST (v. 2)
  • LISTEN FIRST
      • James 1:19 – Quick to listen, Slow to speak, Slow to become angry
  • DISCUSSION WAS GOD-CENTERED
  • DECISION WAS CLEAR
  • PEOPLE WERE SPIRT-LED & UNITED (v. 27-28)
  • HONORED THEM BEFORE LEAVING (v. 32-34)

* Verse 34 is MISSING

Breakout Session Questions

1. Why is it so important that we stand up when the Gospel of grace is being disputed?

2. This passage we looked at today was attempting to add something to Jesus, meaning that salvation was Jesus plus something else. 

Is this evident today? (give examples)

What is the danger in this?

3. During James’ response, he used Scripture. Why is Scripture so important when trying to resolve conflict?

4. When you have a conflict with someone, what is typically the hardest thing for you? What do you need to work on? Pray about this.

——————————————————————————

Digging Deeper

Acts 17:10-15

The Bereans were openminded by not foolish

    • Received the Word with Eagerness
    • Examined the Scripture Daily
    • Sought the Truth

How do you receive the Word with eagerness?

Come prepared

Bring your Bible

Heart ready to receive

Anticipate hearing from God

How can you better examine the Scripture daily?

Daily Devotional

YouVersion App

Independent Study

Study Bibles (ex: Life Application Bible)

Commentaries

Books (MAKE SURE SCRIPTURE IN THE BOOK)

Listening to the Word

Dwell App

Audio Bible

Sermons / Podcasts

How can you seek the Truth?

Fasten the Belt of Truth on your waist – Ephesians 6:14

Look for yourself – examine text yourself

When Scripture referenced, read for yourself

Don’t let your own Bible studying be your only Bible studying

Don’t let someone else’s Bible teaching be your only Bible teaching

Sometimes we read and hear what we want

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teachand admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. [Berean Study Bible]

Compare passage with ultimate Bible narrative – does it fit?

God’s Word does not contradict 

God’s Word does not change

Numbers 23:19 

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? [NIV]

What is the passage actually about? 

Read before the passage

Note transitions like “BUT” or “THEREFORE”

See how the Scripture links elsewhere 

Study that Scripture too

Allow yourself to engage deeply with the Word

Proverbs 3:13

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, [NIV]

Always be mindful of resources you use

Is the Bible translation good for me?

Is the resource I’m using a solid resource? – DON’T JUST GOOGLE

Is the speaker/teacher/preacher sharing God’s Word with Scripture references?

Colossians 2:8

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. [NLT]

——————————————————————

Finish the Race

 

Acts 20:24-30 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 “But whether I live or die is not important, for I don’t esteem my life as indispensable.[a] It’s more important for me to fulfill my destiny and to finish the ministry my Lord Jesus has assigned to me, which is to faithfully preach the wonderful news of God’s grace. 

25 I’ve been a part of your lives and shared with you many times the message of God’s kingdom realm. But now I leave you, and you will not see my face again. 

26 If any of you should be lost, I will not be blamed, for my conscience is clean, 

27 because I’ve taught you everything I could about God’s eternal plan and I’ve held nothing back. 

28 So guard your hearts. Be true shepherds[b] over all the flock and feed them well. Remember, it was the Holy Spirit who appointed you to guard and oversee[c] the churches that belong to Jesus, the Anointed One,[d] which he purchased and established by his own blood.

29 “I know that after I leave, imposters who have no loyalty to the flock[e] will come among you like savage wolves. 

30 Even some from among your very own ranks will rise up, twisting the truth[f] to seduce people into following them instead of Jesus.

  1. ALERT (v. 31) – be alert!

Acts 20:31 The Passion Translation (TPT)

31 So be alert and discerning. Remember that for three years, night and day, I’ve never stopped warning each of you, pouring out my heart to you with tears.

This “be on guard” means “To be vigilant, “to watch carefully for danger”…

There is danger…

Not everyone wants you to finish the race well

2. MOTIVE (v. 24) – watch for motives!

Acts 20:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Is the motive (reason for doing something) your love for Jesus?

Is the motive (reason for doing something) your faithful obedience to Jesus?

3. FOCUS (v. 25)

What or Who are you preaching? Are you preaching the Kingdom?

Acts 20:25 The Voice (VOICE)

25 I now realize that this is our last good-bye. You have been like family in all my travels to proclaim the kingdom of God, but after today none of you will see my face again.

4. GUARD (v. 28-29)

Acts 20:28-29 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God,[a] which he purchased with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

This “be on guard” means to give full attention to, to devote yourself to… this means we need to protect ourselves and others – we are all on the same team!

For you and others, truth will be distorted

Even some from your own group will rise up & distort truth to lure people into following them

Breakout Session Questions

1. In reading tonight’s passage, how can you describe Paul’s ministry?

 

2. Read Acts 20:22-24. What can we glean from these verses? How can we be more like this?

3. This passage speaks about being alert, keeping a close watch on our lives and on the lives of the flock. How is this accomplished?

4. Read Acts 20:36-38. What does this passage tell us about seasons and our race? Is this passage encouraging?

——————————————————

A Good Investment

Acts 18:24-28

Apollos – mentored by Priscilla & Aquila

VERSE 25

    • Apollos was instructed in the way of the Lord
    • Fervent in Spirit
    • Spoke/taught accurately
    • BUT, only knew John’s baptism
      • He knew repentance from sin but did not believe in Jesus

Warning… Proverbs 13:20 – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. [ESV]

A good mentor cares

They took note of Apollos strengths, encouraged his progress

They took Apollos aside privately, provided correction in a loving, kind way 

Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. [ESV]

Mark 12:30-31 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” [NIV]

a good mentor will take time to understand the burdens you have and help you to navigate life

A good mentor is well versed in scripture

Apollos was already “teaching accurately about Jesus,” but Aquila & Priscilla knew enough to help him more. 

Correction should always be performed Scripturally. 

A good mentor invests what he/she has in another

You cannot provide someone something you do not have yourself.

Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. [NLT]

A good mentor sees a greater purpose

Apollos grew from his encounter with the couple

This time with Aquila & Priscilla helped Apollos to be able to explain the way of God more accurately. 

Apollos was a great help, vigorously refused the Jews.

1 Thessalonians 5:11a – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up [ESV]

Hebrews 10:24 – Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. [GNB]

 Breakout Session Questions

For each verse, ask: 

    • What does this share about relationships? 
    • Why is this important? 
    • How can this be accomplished?

Read Proverbs 25:17.

 

Read Romans 12:10. 

 

Read Romans 12:15.

 

Read Ephesians 4:15.

 

Read Hebrews 10:24.

 

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Take Courage

Act 27-28

euthumeó: to be of good cheer

Original Word: εὐθυμέω

Part of Speech: Verb

Transliteration: euthumeó

Phonetic Spelling: (yoo-thoo-meh’-o)

Short Definition: I am cheerful

Definition: I keep up spirit, am cheerful, am of good courage.

“be of good cheer, in good spirits” (high morale)

BE OF GOOD CHEER – GOD IS FAITHFUL

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

And He will also confirm you to the end [keeping you strong and free of any accusation, so that you will be] blameless and beyond reproach in the day [of the return] of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 27:17-26 English Standard Version (ESV)

17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear,[a] and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”

BE OF GOOD CHEER – GOD IS IN CONTROL

Job 12:10 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

10 

Every living creature

    is in the hands of God.

John 10:28 English Standard Version (ESV)

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Acts 28:1-6 The Message (MSG)

28 1-2 Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The natives went out of their way to be friendly to us. The day was rainy and cold and we were already soaked to the bone, but they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it.

3-6 Paul pitched in and helped. He had gathered up a bundle of sticks, but when he put it on the fire, a venomous snake, roused from its torpor by the heat, struck his hand and held on. Seeing the snake hanging from Paul’s hand like that, the natives jumped to the conclusion that he was a murderer getting his just deserts. Paul shook the snake off into the fire, none the worse for wear. They kept expecting him to drop dead, but when it was obvious he wasn’t going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!

BE OF GOOD CHEER – GOD’S PLAN WILL BE FULFILLED

Proverbs 19:21 New Living Translation (NLT)

21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Proverbs 16:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

3  Commit your actions to the Lord,

    and your plans will succeed.

Acts 28:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

Acts 28:25-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

25 And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

26 

‘Go and say to this people:

When you hear what I say,

you will not understand.

When you see what I do,

you will not comprehend.

27 

For the hearts of these people are hardened,

and their ears cannot hear,

and they have closed their eyes—

so their eyes cannot see,

and their ears cannot hear,

and their hearts cannot understand,

and they cannot turn to me

and let me heal them.’[a]

28 So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.”[b]

30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense.[c] He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.

Breakout Sessions

1. How does tonight’s passage highlight for us the truth that God keeps His Word?

2. How did Paul witness well during this journey to Rome and while at Rome?

3. Paul made the most of his house arrest in Rome by sharing the Good News, continuing his ministry work. What does his example teach us about making the most of every ministry opportunity the Lord provides?

4. We have just finished reading the Book of Acts. What was your greatest takeaway from this book?

Acts: You Will Be My Witnesses Outlines

YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES

First 8 chapters – time period of 30-33 

Luke quotes OT LXX (Septuagint or “70”), not Hebrew – early Greek translation of OT

Chapters 1-12 – Peter’s Ministry / Chapters 13-28 – Paul’s Ministry

Pentecost is 50 days after Passover (known as Feast of Weeks), Greek word “50th”

Pentecost is one of 3 major feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16) – the Festival of Unleavened Bread [begins day after Passover for a week, in remembrance of the Exodus/no leaven], the Festival of Weeks/Harvest [gratitude of Harvest], and the Festival of Tabernacles/Booths [5 days after Day of Atonement, dwell in tents to remind of time before Canaan] 

Acts 1:4-7 – Promise of Holy Spirit / Acts 1:5 – Wait for the Holy Spirit / Acts 1:9-11 – Ascension

Holy Spirit is the beginning

Only belong to Christ with the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:9

Adopted – Romans 8:14-17

Be Body of Christ with Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:13

          Tongues of Fire – Speech, communication of Gospel; Fire – God’s purifying presence

Mt. Sinai – Exodus 19:16-18 – fire came down at one place, now every believer

Only baptized by Holy Spirit once – Ephesians 4:4-5

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Insulting Him – Hebrews 10:29

Lying to Him – Acts 5:3-4

Resisting Him – Acts 7:51

Blaspheming Him – Mark 3:29

Grieving Him – Ephesians 4:30 – Cause Him sorrow/sadness because of indwelling sin

Quenching Him – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Allow sin to hinder influence of Holy Spirit, won’t allow His power to yield righteous fruit because of this sin

How YOU will be His witness – John 14-16

Comforts YOU (Acts 9:31) – He is known as the Comforter

Fills YOU with power (Acts 1:8)

Guides YOU to Truth (16:13)

Reminds YOU of Jesus’ Words (14:26)

Gives YOU the words to say (Luke 12:12)

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You Will Be My Witnesses

What I Have

Acts 3 – Healing of a Lame Man

The Lame Man Settled 

We settle with our circumstances

We accept our pains, our struggles, our situations

What if we thought beyond what was possible in our eyes?

What if we put everything into God’s hands?

Peter & John shared WHAT THEY HAD

What do you have?

Do you get caught in thinking what you have is time, talent, treasure, but forget the most important item you have?

People need the message of eternal life— people need JESUS and the SALVATION He freely gives more than the temporary things of the earth.

This lame man was not given money to get him through the day— He was provided with healing for the temporary but through Christ Jesus he also was offered SALVATION – ETERNAL LIFE

Why would we rather toss some money at someone then give them what is truly needed above all things?  {Road Dogs – not about the hot dogs, about Jesus}

The healing was done IN THE NAME OF JESUS

He gives you authority (power to influence, power to command)

When they say this, it means they are stating that Jesus gave them the power and authority to do this on Jesus behalf. It is all about Jesus. We are the vessels.

Are you using the authority and power you have been given to witness to others? 

In verse 20, it speaks of seasons of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord. We are all in need of this refreshing.

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You Will Be My Witnesses

All In

Acts 6:8 – Acts 7:60 – STEPHEN’S WITNESS

Stephen kept his eyes fixed on Jesus

Face of an angel (6:15) 

Moses at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:29-35)

Stephen followed the example of Jesus

He did not defend himself though the leaders were noting he was heard speaking blasphemous words (6:11) and presented false witnesses (6:13)

These same charges against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60)

He spoke the truth despite the consequences, calling the people stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears. He told them they are always resisting the Holy Spirit (6:51). He told them they received the Law but haven’t kept it (6:53).

He trusted God with his spirit (7:59)

Jesus said — “Father, into Your hands I entrust My Spirit” (Luke 23:46)

He asked for forgiveness of those who stoned him (7:60)

Jesus said — “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

Stephen received a “standing ovation” for his witness (7:55-56)

He saw the glory of God

He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God

When he spoke this truth, he was saying Jesus was equal to the Father

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NOT FOR SALE

Acts 8:9-25

Severe persecution broke out again the church in Jerusalem (8:1)

Saul was ravaging the church

People scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria

Those who were scattered continued preaching the Word (8:4)

Philip went to Samaria

Samaritans were considered unclean

When the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria, the Jews and Gentiles intermingled — resulted in the Samaritans

Samaritans had a their own temple, read a different version of the Pentateuch, and had differing views about the Messiah

Philip’s ministry to the Samaritans was fruitful, only one called Evangelist

Crowds were all paying attention, many were healed

Simon the Magician/Sorcerer

He amazed the people with magic, called “Great Power of God” (not from God)

When Philip evangelized, even Simon declared he believed and was baptized

Simon followed Philip everywhere, watching him perform sings & miracles

Laying Hands = Holy Spirit

The Samaritans believed but did not yet receive the Holy Spirit

Many believe this delay of the Holy Spirit was to confirm unity, the laying of hands was affirmation of the spreading of the Gospel to Samaria

When Simon saw this power, he offered to buy it (like Judas, put monetary value on something spiritual) – heart not right before God (8:20)

Peter rebuked Simon, told him to repent & pray for forgiveness (8:22)

God’s Salvation is Not For Sale

Ephesians 2:8

God’s Spirit is Not For Sale

1 Corinthians 12:7

God’s Blessing is Not For Sale

Psalm 1:1-6

Matthew 6:33

Psalm 67

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Chosen

Here I Am (v. 10)

Told WHERE to go — street called Straight, house of Judas

Told WHO to go to — Saul, man from Tarsus

Told WHEN to go — at once

Told WHY he must go – since he is praying there, needs to place hands on him and pray so his sight can be restored

BUT this man… (v. 13-14)

Very evil, Power to harm

He is my CHOSEN INSTRUMENT (vessel of election) (v. 15)

He will carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel

He is chosen to suffer for Jesus Christ

We are to WITNESS to GOD’s CHOSEN ONES

They are chosen ones because they will accept Jesus (PREDESTINATION)

Ephesians 1:4-5 — even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

God wants to freely pour out His grace & mercy on His chosen ones

2 Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God has a plan for His chosen ones

Romans 8:28-30 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

You are called to say “Here I Am” to God’s leading you to share Jesus so that His message of hope and salvation can reach the chosen ones

2 Timothy 1:9 — who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

Ephesians 1:11-12 — In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

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FREE AT LAST

Acts 11:1-18

The Truth will set you free (John 8:31-36)

Everyone who believes is set free (Romans 8:1-4)

No Condemnation

Free from the Law of sin & death, Jesus fulfilled the Law

Acts 11:1-18

Approach God with freedom (Ephesians 3:12)

Don’t submit to yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1)

Be slaves of God (Romans 6:22)

Slaves of Righteousness

Charles Spurgeon said as slaves of God, enjoy:

Perfect Freedom

Joyful Existence

Heavenly Prospect

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Deliverance

Acts 12

King Herod (Agrippa I)

His grandfather was Herod the Great (slaughtered babies after Magi visit – Matt. 1

His uncle was Herod Antipas (murdered John Baptist) – Mark 6

James (brother of John) executed by sword

12:17 is James, Jesus’ half-brother who is leading Jerusalem church

“Wartime Walkie Talkie” – John Piper’s description of prayer

James executed, Peter arrested

Herod attacks by sword, church counters with prayer

Peter was sleeping, not anxious/panicked (confidence in God)

Peter doesn’t escape… he is delivered

Angel had to strike Peter on side too wake him (v. 7)

Chains fell off Peter’s wrist (v. 7)

Gate opened by itself (v. 10)

Peter was too asleep to even know what was happening (v. 9, 11)

Deliverance comes after church praying fervently to God (v. 5, 13)

Prayer is the church’s weapon

They didn’t believe Peter was at the door even though they were praying for him

Perhaps didn’t think he could be rescued, that he was going to end up like James so prayed differently

Perhaps thought he was already dead (mentioned seeing his ghost)

God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)

1) Made In Faith

“All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!  – Mark 9:23

2) Abide in Him 

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 [NASB]

3) In Jesus Name

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” – John 14:13-14 [NLT]

5) For God’s Will

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 [NIV]

“We are confident that God listens to us if we ask for anything that has his approval. We know that he listens to our requests. So we know that we already have what we ask him for.” – 1 John 5:14-15 [GW]

6) Persistent and Bold 

Ask, Seek, Knock  – Continuous (Not Single Request – Present Tense) – Matthew 7:7-11

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Walk with Integrity

ACTS 5:1-16

Ananias & Sapphira

Joseph aka Barnabas… sold a field, laid money at apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37)

Ananias & Sapphira sold a piece of property too… but lacked integrity… didn’t fear God

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Posers / Liars / Deceivers

Pretended to do a righteous act, lied about it

Planned this deception, both were on board

Praise seekers 

They sought recognition for their act of giving

Greedy

The word used in v. 3 means “to keep back” or to “pilfer” (“steal in small amount”) – embezzlement is what we would call it today

The Holy Spirit was grieved by this couple who professed Jesus

Proverbs 10:9 – Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

The word means “blameless,” “upright,” “innocent.”

To walk with integrity means:

Live the Truth

Stay Humble

Be Generous

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Not God

Acts 14:8-20

Lystra

Part of Galatia

Temple dedicated to Zeus at the town gates

Pagan people lived there — they had no knowledge of Old Testament so Paul adjusted message to the people so they could understand

He started with the very beginning – God who made the heaven & earth

Legend

Zeus & Hermes came down to Lystra. No one would welcome them except an old couple (Philemon & his wife)

Philemon & his wife. They made a temple, appointed the couple priest & priestess

They sent a flood to destroy the others.

Paul called Hermes (messenger of the gods) because he was speaker of the duo

Keep the focus on God

God is Creator (v. 15)

God is Provider (v. 17)

If you offer someone something other than God, it will fail

How Do You Make Sure You are God-Focused as a Witness:

1. Receive the Gospel daily

Sinner, saved by grace

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [NASB]

IF YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED FOR THE GOSPEL, YOUR PRIDE WILL RISE UP AND TAKE HOLD OF YOUR WITNESSING.

IT WILL THEN BE ALL ABOUT YOU HELPING, YOU SAVING, YOU DOING

2. Thank God daily

Gratitude reminds us of how blessed we are– that our blessings come from God. 

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” [ESV]

Gratitude reminds us that He is our Creator and He is our Provider.

IF YOU DON’T THANK GOD OFTEN FOR THE BLESSINGS, YOU MAY HARBOR A FEELING OF ENTITLEMENT. 

IF YOU DON’T THANK GOD OFTEN FOR THE BLESSINGS, YOU MAY BECOME NEGATIVE…. FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE… FOCUSING ON THE BAD THINGS YOU SEE OR THINK YOU SEE.

3. Live in His Truth daily

Be in the Word

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” [NIV]

Walk in Faithful Obedience

James 1:22

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. [ESV]

4. Glorify God always

Acts 12:20-23

But things went from bad to worse for Herod. Now people from Tyre and Sidon put him on the warpath. But they got Blastus, King Herod’s right-hand man, to put in a good word for them and got a delegation together to iron things out. Because they were dependent on Judea for food supplies, they couldn’t afford to let this go on too long. On the day set for their meeting, Herod, robed in pomposity, took his place on the throne and regaled them with a lot of hot air. The people played their part to the hilt and shouted flatteries: “The voice of God! The voice of God!” That was the last straw. God had had enough of Herod’s arrogance and sent an angel to strike him down. Herod had given God no credit for anything. Down he went. Rotten to the core, a maggoty old man if there ever was one, he died.

God is our Creator

We were created to glorify Him… to point to Him!

God is our Provider

We are given all we need by Him… to point to Him!

Let us glorify Him

To Him alone be all honor, glory, and praise… point to Him!

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PRAISE AT ALL TIMES

Acts 16:25-34  

Matthew 26:30

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [NASB]

After the Last Supper, sang a hymn and then went to the Mount of Olives. 

Read Acts 16:25-34

Fortune Teller – power from evil spirits/demons – Paul commanded the demon come out in Jesus name. Owners lost money.

Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, and jailed

Praying and singing hymns (v. 25)

Prisoners were listening – PEOPLE ALWAYS LISTENING

Earthquake – prison doors open/chains off – jailer & household saved!

Acts 16:25-26

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose. [MSG]

ROBUST – strong, vigorous

Acts 16:25

Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship. [TPT]

UNDAUNTED – not intimidated or discouraged 

Why are we talking about this today?

We were made to glorify God. (Isaiah 43:7)

1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials  so that the proven character of your faith —  more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire  —  may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [CSB] 

How can we be undaunted (not discouraged) & sing robust (strong) praises to the Lord at ALL times so we can point to Jesus Christ (be the “good” witness)?

Be Grateful at ALL times

Always look for God’s grace. Seek it out. 

Read Psalm 118

Be God centered

Don’t look at the situation. Look to God…. To His Truth, His Promises!

Don’t focus on the mess… remember the future ahead!

Rest in your confidence in Him!

Ex: Waiting for your child to finish tying his/her shoes

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments. [NIV]

SALVATION IS FROM GOD — v. 18 is salvation (God alone offers salvation through Christ Jesus)

VICTORY IS FROM GOD — v. 19 is control, victory (God is in control, He provides victory)

Psalm 34:1-3

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the LORD; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim the LORD’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together. [CSB]

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Not A Suggestion

You Will Be My Witnesses

It is not a suggestion to repent and turn to God.

God is our Creator and Sustainer.

In Him we live, move, and exist!

We long for Him & through repentance, turning toward God we can do life with Him!

It is not a suggestion to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

People are living life blinded by sin, unable to be in the presence of God, unable to experience life as it is intended.

We have been commanded to share Jesus through the Great Commission — it is not a suggestion! 

Acts 17:22-34 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Paul Speaks to the Leaders of Athens

22 So Paul stood in the middle of the leadership council and said, “Respected leaders of Athens,[a] it is clear to me how extravagant you are in your worship of idols.[b] 

23 For as I walked through your city, I was captivated by the many shrines and objects of your worship. I even found an inscription on one altar that read, ‘To the Unknown God.’[c] I have come to introduce to you this God whom you worship without even knowing anything about him.

24 “The true God is the Creator of all things. He is the owner and Lord of the heavenly realm and the earthly realm, and he doesn’t live in man-made temples. 

25 He supplies life and breath and all things to every living being. He doesn’t lack a thing that we mortals could supply for him, for he has all things and everything he needs. 

26 From one man, Adam, he made every man and woman and every race of humanity, and he spread us over all the earth. He sets the boundaries of people and nations, determining their appointed times in history.

27 He has done this so that every person would long for God, feel their way to him,[e] and find him—for he is the God who is easy to discover![f] 

28 It is through him that we live and function and have our identity; just as your own poets have said,[g] ‘Our lineage comes from him.’[h]

29 “Since our lineage can be traced back to God, how could we even think that the divine image could be compared to something made of gold, silver, or stone, sculpted by man’s artwork and clever imagination?

30 “In the past God tolerated[i] our ignorance of these things, but now the time of deception has passed away.[j] He commands us all to repent and turn to God.[k] 

31 For the appointed day has risen, in which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man he has designated. And the proof given to the world that God has chosen this Man is this: he resurrected him from among the dead!”[l]

32 The moment they heard Paul bring up the topic of resurrection, some of them ridiculed him, then got up and left. But others said, “We want to hear you again later about these things.” 

33 So Paul left the meeting. 34 But there were some who believed the message and joined him from that day forward. Among them were Dionysius, a judge on the leadership council,[m] and a woman named Damaris.[n]

Hebrews 10:22 The Passion Translation (TPT)

22 we come closer to God and approach him[a] with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from him. For our hearts have been sprinkled with blood to remove impurity and we have been freed from an accusing conscience and now we are clean, unstained, and presentable to God inside and out![b]

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 The Message (MSG)

7-10 Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

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Judgment

Acts 24:22-27

Felix listened to Paul about Jesus

Felix was originally a slave, freed by Emperor Claudius

Felix became one of the emperor’s infamous favorites

As governor, Felix committed every act of extortion

Felix lured Drusilla away from her husband because he desired her

She was one of the three daughters of Herod Agrippa I

Her father murdered James

Her uncle murdered John the Baptist

Her great grandfather murdered the Hebrew babies

PAUL WAS NOT ASHAMED

Romans 1:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Felix sent for Paul often (v. 26)

Felix thought Paul would offer a bribe

When asked to share truth about “the faith in Jesus Christ,” Paul did not dampen the message to not offend

PAUL WAS PREPARED

1 Peter 3:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

FELIX WAS CONVICTED & FEARFUL

Fear stopped Felix from listening fully

He feared judgment which was surely coming

THE TIME WAS NOT CONVENIENT

Felix sent Paul away for a convenient time 

Time is never convenient

Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading

Recognize you may be sent away like Paul

JUDGMENT IS COMING

Hebrews 10:26-31 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Christ or Judgment

26 For if we go on willfully and deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice [to atone] for our sins [that is, no further offering to anticipate], 27 but a kind of awful and terrifying expectation of [divine] judgment and the fury of a fire and burning wrath which will consume the adversaries [those who put themselves in opposition to God]. 28 Anyone who has ignored and set aside the Law of Moses is put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that [a]sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath].

Revelation 6:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series Outlines

What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 1 – Jesus]]

Bear Grylls (British Adventurer) – “And Jesus, the heart of the Christian faith is the wildest, most radical guy you’d ever come across.”

What did Jesus say about His IDENTITY and His MISSION???

Who is Jesus? One Person of the Trinity

What did He call Himself or say about Himself?

Son of God (John 2:14-17) – Clearing of the Temple – “Do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

Son of Man (John 9:25-38) – Healing Man Blind from Birth – “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “It is He Who is speaking to you.”

Messiah who is called Christ (John 4:7-10, 26) – Woman from Samaria – “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ”) Jesus says, “I Who speak to you am He.”

Messiah, Son of Living God (Matthew 16:13-17) – “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Lord of Sabbath / Greater than the Temple (Matthew 12:6-8)  

All Authority in Heaven and on Earth (Matthew 28:18-20)

Where did He come from and When? 

He is before Abraham (John 8:58) – “Before Abraham was, I am.”

Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and End (Revelation 22:13)

Where is He now?

Right hand of God (Matthew 26:63-67) – “From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Luke 22:69) – “But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”

Why did He come?? To Serve God and Serve Others

The Mission:

Serve and Give Life as Ransom for Many (Matthew 20:25-28) Gives His Life (John 5:21-22)

Lift up Life & Take it up Again (John 10:17-18) – “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again.” (John 3:14-17)

Save Lives (Luke 9:55-56) – “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Save Those Who Believe (John 13:14-17)

 (John 3:14-17)

Provide Life in Abundance (John 10:10-11) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 

Open Eyes to Truth (John 9:39) – “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” – To give sight to those who were spiritually blind. Testify to the Truth (John 18:37) – To Pilate, Jesus says, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.”

Forgives Sins (Matthew 9:2-5) – Paralyzed Man – “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” This foreshadows the forgiveness of sins we are offered because of Christ Jesus. (Luke 7:48, 1 John 1:9 – “if we confess, He is faithful to forgive,” Ephesians 1:7)

Fulfill Law (Matthew 5:17) – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 26:47-54) – as Peter is cutting off Malchus ear, “But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled.” (John 18:11) – “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me?”

What Others Said about Jesus:

Read John 1:35-43. This passage discusses the call of the disciples of Jesus. In this passage, what does it say about who Jesus is?

What Jesus Said about Jesus:

Read John 6:48-51. 

What does Jesus call Himself?

Where does Jesus say He came from?

What does this passage talk about doing? What are the results of this action?

 Read John 10:25-30. The Jewish people were questioning Jesus and this is His response. What does Jesus say about Himself in this passage?

Read John 18:1-9. This is the account of the arrest of Jesus. The Roman soldiers were looking for Jesus of Nazareth. 

How many times did Jesus ask who they were looking for? What was His response?

Why do you think that everyone fell over the first time Jesus said “I am He”?

Verse 9 speaks of why this all happened. What was the reason? (See John 17:12)

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 2 – Devil]]

Jesse Ventura (wrestler, politician) “In wrestling, my mustache made me look more like a villain. A good mustache can give you the look of the devil.”

What did Jesus say about Satan and Demons?

Who is Satan? 

Father of Lies, a Liar (John 8:44)

Murderer from the beginning (John 8:44) 

Prince of the world (John 14:30)

Prince of the demons (Mark 3:22)

Where did Satan come from? 

“And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’” (Luke 10:18)

Where is Satan now? 

Satan is roaming the world. He is the Prince/Ruler of the World (John 14:30). 

“The eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). 

Tossed into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:10.

Where is Satan going? 

Satan is going to be cast out. (John 12:31-32)

As Christ goes to the Cross, it seems as if the prince of the world is victorious, but it is actually the same time as he is cast out of the earth as he had been already cast out of heaven. This is a gradual thing, but one that has already been achieved and will surely come.

Satan has already been judged and stands condemned (John 16:11)

The Power of Satan

Satan can take away the word as soon as heard, if we’re not receptive / don’t believe (Mark 4:15)

Satan can tempt – Satan even tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13)

Satan can keep someone bound – bound woman 18 years that Jesus healed on Sabbath (Luke 13:16)

Satan can disgrace/distress us if he cannot destroy us – he desired to sift Peter as wheat (Luke 22:31-32)

True Power found in Jesus

Pray for deliverance from evil one – Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:13)

Remember there is power in the name of Jesus 

The disciples drove out demons in His name (Matthew 10:8, Luke 10:17-20)

Jesus rebuked demons (Matthew 17:14-20)

Jesus delivered demon-possessed daughter from a distance (Matthew 15:22-28)

The demon possessed man who lived in tombs fell on his knees before Jesus (Mark 5:1-19)

Remember, Jesus is victorious!

What Others Said:

Read 2 Peter 2:4. This passage speaks of angels that sinned, hell, and judgment.

Who were the angels that sinned and who were they “working for”/serving?

 

What does this passage say happened to them and where are they now?

 

What Jesus Said:

Read Matthew 12:43-45. This passage speaks about evil spirits that comes out of a person. 

What do the spirit do? 

 

This passage is challenging. We can see that the man who once had one evil spirit, now has a total of eight. What can you glean from this passage?

 

Read Mark 5:1-20 (also see Matthew 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39).

This passage is one that shows us a lot about demons, though Jesus says very little if you look at the Synoptic passages. What can you glean about demons from these readings?

 

In question 2, we read about a person who went from one evil spirit to having eight more. When looking at Mark and Luke, what do we learn about this demon-possession?

 

Food for thought: Why did the demons ask to go into the pigs? Why did Jesus agree?

 

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 3 – Heaven]]

Jimi Hendrix (guitarist, singer-songwriter) “You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.”

What did Jesus say about heaven?

Jesus DOES NOT talk much about what heaven will be like. 

Jesus talks mostly about HOW YOU GET INTO HEAVEN, and that the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN HAS BEGUN NOW and we are to live in light of that truth.

Heaven is a place

It is a place where God is & His presence is made known (Matthew 6:9, John 14:23-31).

 It is NOT bodiless beings floating around through clouds.

Heaven is a place only Jesus has been 

Only He has gone to heaven (John 3:13)

Only He came from heaven – called the Bread from Heaven (John 6:35-51)

Heaven is a place prepared for us 

It is a place that was prepared since the creation of the world (Matthew 25:34)

It is a place of treasures and joy and reward (Matthew 6:20)

Heaven is a place with enough room (John 14:2)

Even though there is a lot of room, not everyone will enter.

Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter (Matthew 7:21)

Must be born again (John 3:3), Hear & believe – cross over from death to life (John 5:24) 

Heaven is a place of fellowship  

In fellowship with one another and with God (Matthew 26:29) 

God of the living (Matthew 22:32, Luke 20:38)

Jesus communion with us in heaven

Heaven is a place of justice (Luke 16 – The Rich Man & Lazarus)

Separation between heaven (good place) & hell (bad place)

Jesus lets us know that it is not easy to get in heaven. Read Matthew 18:2-4 and Matthew 19:14. What do these verses say about how to get into heaven? What does this mean?

 

The world has a system that rates who is better by comparing possessions, accomplishments, beauty, and talent. Read Matthew 5:17-20. How are things different in heaven?

 

Jesus is very clear – preparation for heaven is important. Read Matthew 25:1-13. What does this parable teach us?

Jesus often spoke in parables. If you read Matthew 13, you will note numerous parables that speak about the kingdom of heaven.  Read Matthew 13:31-52. 

We read the kingdom of heaven compared to numerous items. What do each of these   comparisons mean?

Mustard seed (v. 31)/Yeast (v. 33) –  

Hidden treasure (v. 44)/Pearl (v. 45) –  

Net (v. 50) –  

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 4 – Hell]]

Arthur Rimbaud (French poet) – “I believe that I am in hell, therefore I am there.” 

George Herbert (Welsh poet, Anglican priest) – “Hell is full of good meanings and wishings.”

The OT word for hell is “Sheol” and it was used to describe the world of the dead. In the NT, a few words are used. “Hades” (place for departed spirits), “Tartarus” (place where fallen angels stay until final judgment – 2 Peter 2:4 – this word is only used in this verse as “Tartarus” is Greek mythology word used to describe the place where enemies of gods are sent), and “Gehenna” (place for lost / condemned).

 “Gehenna” (“Gêhinnōm”) – the place used as a trash dump because of the valley of sons of Hinnom where children were sacrificed by fire. Referred to as “lake of fire” in Revelation (20:11-15). Gehenna is the place of post-resurrection torment where the unredeemed people experience everlasting judgment.

What did Jesus say about hell?

Hell is a choice 

God is righteous. God is just. He demands eternal punishment for those who sin. The Bible says “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Even so, anyone can avoid this punishment. 

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain that “the doors of hell are locked on the inside.”

Believe in Jesus – saved from condemnation

Don’t believe in Jesus – stand condemned

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. – John 3:18 

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. – Mark 16:16

Hell is a place of divine judgment 

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. – John 5:21-23

The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. – John 12:48 

Hell is a place of darkness

While the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 8:12

Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 22:13

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 25:30

Hell is a place of separation

Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.  – Matthew 13:30

Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. – Matthew 25:32

Hell is eternal torment 

He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 24:51

Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. – Matthew 25:41

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.   – Matthew 25:46

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. – Mark 9:43

Hell is a fiery furnace

But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. – Matthew 5:22

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. – Matthew 7:19

They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 13:42

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 13:49-50

And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. – Matthew 18:9

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ – Luke 16:24

Hell is a place of destruction and death

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. – Matthew 7:13

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28

Read Luke 16:19-31 – The Rich Man and Lazarus. Understand that this parable’s message is about money/stewardship. Nonetheless, the parable gives us some information about hell that was commonly known among the Jewish listeners as taught from the Old Testament that we can use to glean more understanding.

This parable speaks mostly about two main people. Who are these people? How are they both described?

 

Both Lazarus and the Rich Man die. Where do they go right after they die? What was different between the wording of what happened & what does this mean? (v. 22)

 

In Verse 24, the Rich Man asks for comfort from Lazarus but is quickly denied this request. Read v. 25-26. What does this tell us about hell?

 

In Verse 27, the Rich Man asks if Lazarus could visit his family to warn them of the torment. Abraham’s response tells us what?

 

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 5 – Believe]]

FEAR / ANXIETY / WORRY / FAITH / BELIEVE

Franklin D. Roosevelt (President) – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Anxious about life

Fear storms

Worry about tomorrow

We laugh at God (Mark 5:40 – the Healing of Jairus Daughter)

We limit God (Matthew 14:17 – the Feeding of Five Thousand)

We doubt God (Matthew 8:25-26, Luke 8:24-25 – Jesus Calms the Storm)

What Jesus Said…

Don’t be anxious (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-34)

You are valuable

God knows your needs

Tomorrow has its own trouble 

Have no fear (Matthew 10:26-33, Mark 5:36)

Do not let your heart be troubled (John 14:1)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Now what?

Do you want to get well? (John 5:5-14 – Healing at the Pool for a 38 year invalid)

Lord, if you are willing? (Matthew 8:2-4 – Healing of Leper)

Believe

Go, it will be as you believe (Matthew 8:5-13 – Centurion’s faith)

See glory of God – God is glorified (John 11:40 – Raising of Lazarus)

Read Matthew 17:14-21

Why did Jesus say they couldn’t cast out demons?

 

Not all Bible translations have Matthew 17:21. Read the verse. The disciples were said to have little faith. What was neglected in their faith walk that is mentioned here as requirements to cast out these particular demons?

 

Read Mathew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:20-25. The fig tree was cursed by Jesus because it gave a false appearance of bearing fruit, as a fig has fruit before the leaves. When Jesus curses the fig tree, He demonstrates His power. 

What does Jesus say we can do if we speak without doubting in our hearts?

 

How does Jesus describe prayer in these passages?

 

Read Luke 5:5. This verse is part of the passage that discusses the calling of the disciples of Jesus. We read that James, John, and Peter fished all night and received no return on their labor. Jesus shows up and they pull the boat away from shore. Jesus teaches and then He tells the fishermen to cast their nets. 

What gets in the way of us letting down our nets in life?

 

Personal reflection: In this passage, we read that the men already spent all night fishing, but then they respond to Jesus, “But at Your word,” and they obey. How can we be people that say, “At Your Word” in obedience to our Lord?

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 6 – Obey]]

Katherine Hepburn (Actress) – “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”

Obedience is to be Continual

John 5:8 – “Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’”

Get Up

Pick up your mat

Walk

John 5:14 – “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’”

Stop Sinning

Obedience is Sacrificial

Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 14:25-33, John 6:60-65

Luke 9:62 – “Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

Obedience confirms Relationship

Sheep Listen – John 10:27 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Abide in Word – Disciple – John 8:31 – “You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings.”

Obedience = Friend of Jesus – John 15:14 – “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

Obedience = Brother, sister, mother – Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35, Luke 8:21

Obedience is all about Love

Love = Obedience – John 14:23-26 – yes, it’s hard but we have the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to teach all things, remind of everything

Obedience = Remain in Love – John 15:10 – “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” 

Love me – Obey teaching –Not all who obey enter Kingdom – Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 6:46-49

Obedience comes with Rewards

Obedience / Keep Word = Never see death – John 8:51 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

Blessed are those who hear word & obey – Luke 11:28 – “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’”

What Others Said:

Read 1 Samuel 15:20-22. 

What does this verse tell us about obedience?

 

What is the difference between obeying God’s Word and providing God an offering / sacrifice?

 

What Jesus Said:

Read Matthew 7:21. In this verse, Jesus makes it clear that those who say, “Lord, Lord” may not necessarily enter heaven. What does this say to us?

 

Read Acts 9:1-9. We read about what Saul (Paul) was doing to persecute the early Christians. Jesus meets him on Damascus Road and asks why Saul is persecuting Him. What is Jesus command to Saul in Acts 9:6?

 

The conversion of Saul to Paul is found in Acts 9, 22, and 26. Read Acts 22:8-10. 

What questions does Saul (Paul) ask Jesus?

 

After Jesus revealed to Saul (Paul) Who He is, he immediately wanted to obey Jesus—he asked Him what he was to do. What does this tell you about obedience?

 

This passage mentions first knowing Jesus and then obeying Him. It is also true that as you continue to walk in obedience, you know Jesus deeper. Why is this true?

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 7 – Serve]]

Love / Compassion / Serving God & Others / Care

Annie Lennox (singer songwriter) – “Humankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion.” 

Common statement “Jesus had compassion” (Matthew 15:32, Matthew 20:34, Mark 8:2)

Luke 7:12-15 – As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

YOU WILL BE BLESSED – Matthew 5:7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

JESUS SET THE EXAMPLE – John 13:12-17

IT IS A COMMAND 

Mark 12:30-31 – And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another

WHAT YOU DO FOR OTHERS, YOU DO FOR JESUS – Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6:27-36

Matthew 5:41 – And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Read Luke 10:25-37 – The Parable of the Good Samaritan

The man who was heading down from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by robbers and left for dead. Why would the priest and Levite pass him by?

 

The priest and Levite passed this man who was left for dead. How does this relate to us being the passerby’s? What causes us to pass by those in need? What keeps us from showing compassion?

 

The person who assisted the man in need was known as what type of person? Why was this type of person one who stood out?

 

What did the Samaritan do for this man in need? How would you describe his actions?

 

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 8 – Give]]

Treasure / Greed / Money / Stewardship / Generosity

Al Pacino (actor) – “Money makes your life easier. If you’re lucky to have it, you’re lucky.”

The Treasure Isn’t Ours (Luke 12:13-21)

The Rich Fool did not recognize where the abundance came. He took it all for himself. He stored up treasures but was not rich toward God, the One Who blessed him, Who entrusted him to manage the treasures.

The Responsibility Is Ours (Mark 12:17)

And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him. – Mark 12:17 [NASB]

Accountability is Promised (Luke 19:11-27 The Parable of the Ten Minas)

“His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ (v. 22-23)

Reward is Promised (Matthew 25:14-30 – The Parable of the Bags of Gold)

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (v. 23)

The Treasure Isn’t Here (Matthew 6:19-21)

Read Luke 16:1-14 (The Parable of the Shrewd Manager or Parable of the Unjust Steward)

Who is hearing Jesus speak this parable? Who is mentioned in this parable?

 

What can you tell about the Shrewd / Dishonest Manager?

 

We read in verse 8 that the master commended the dishonest manager. Many incorrectly take this to mean that Jesus commends the shrewd manager’s poor behavior that got him into this mess. Jesus is not commending the dishonesty. Consider how each of us are managers of what God has given us.  Read Luke 16:8 again. 

Who is Jesus drawing a contrast between?

 

Read verse 9 again. Unrighteous wealth means worldly wealth. This isn’t saying we are to acquire wealth in a dishonest way. It is making a statement regarding the way money can corrupt people to act unrighteous. What is Jesus encouraging us to do in this passage?

 

Read verses 10-13 again. 

Finish this statement: Those who can be trusted / faithful with little…

 

What are the “true riches” (v. 11)?

 

Verse 13 says we cannot serve two masters. How is money to fit into our life?

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 9 – Forgive]]

Anger / Judgment / Forgiveness

Sophia Petrillo to Dorothy Zbornak on “The Golden Girls” – “Anger is a lot like a piece of shredded wheat caught under your dentures. If you leave it there, you get a blister and you gotta eat Jell-O all week. If you get rid of it, the sore heals and you feel better.”

YOU ALWAYS LOSE WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR TEMPER

Anger / Judgment / Unforgiveness – all get in the way of our relationship with Jesus

Unable to focus on Jesus

Unable to worship completely – something is in the way

Offensive to God

Detrimental to our relationships

Anger is ok, don’t sin (Ephesians 4:26), One given to anger sins (Proverbs 29:22) 

One slow to anger has great understanding (Proverbs 14:29) 

Quick tempered act foolishly (Proverbs 14:17)

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS – Jesus said they shall be called SONS OF GOD (Matthew 5:9)

Forgiveness is a sign of our spiritual birth (Matthew 6:14) – you forgive and you will be forgiven 

OWN UP – even when you don’t feel like you did something wrong – JESUS DID!!

1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love is NOT rude, does NOT insist on own way, NOT resentful/irritable – Why do we have to always be right? Why are we bitter?

What does Jesus say?

RECONCILE FIRST

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too”Mark 11:25 [NLT]

“Leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”Matthew 5:24 [ESV]

NO RETALIATION

Matthew 5:38-48 – turn cheek, go two miles, PRAY

TRUTH ABOUT JUDGMENT

Non-believers

Cannot judge outside the church. God will judge. We are to share truth and grace (Jesus Christ)

Believers

John 7:24 – Don’t judge by appearance. Use right judgment. Our judgment is usually heavily biased. We magnify the mistakes of others and minimize our own.

Luke 17:3-4 – if brother sins, rebuke, if repent forgive – even 7 times

Matthew 18:15-35 – if brother sins: approach alone, approach with a few, approach church

Life with Jesus is…

Life changing

Hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment – exchanged for – peace, joy, love, contentment

Life giving

Forgiveness equals deeper understanding of God’s love and mercy. This helps us to develop a grateful spirit that leads to more intimate fellowship with Jesus.

Read the Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1-11).

What was Jesus doing before the woman was brought before Him? Who was present?

 

The passage says that the Law of Moses commands that an adulterous woman be stoned. Read Deuteronomy 22:22. Is this true? 

 

Jesus did not condemn the woman as the people desired. Instead He was writing on the ground. He said the one without sin should cast the first stone. The people deserted. In what manner? Consider why you think this happened.

 

Read the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35).

Verse 24 and verse 28 speak about the amounts owed. What are the differences? What does this say to us?

 

In verse 32, we read about mercy shown. What is mercy? How did the servant receive mercy from the king?

 

The final verse of this passage speaks about what is expected of each of us. What is expected? What is the only way this can happen?

 

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 10 – Follow]]

Discipleship / Spiritual Maturity / Spiritual Priorities

THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE – LUKE 14:25-35

Love God more than anyone else (Matthew 10:37)

Anyone who loves family more than Me is not worth (v. 38-39)

Disciples have partnership with Jesus – John 15:1-21 – Abide in Me & I in you 

Forsake all that you have (Luke 14:33) 

Don’t cling to anything but God

Disciples will follow Jesus everywhere – John 12:26 

Count the cost (Luke 14:28) 

Understand the cost of following Jesus

Sacrifice

Deny yourself & take up the cross (Luke 9:23-26)

Disciples remain faithful to My teaching – John 8:31-32

Live every word from the mouth of God – Matthew 4:4

Take up cross DAILY – Luke 9:23

Benefits of Discipleship

 – for those who desire to know and obey God

 – relationship with God of the Universe!

– Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied

 – able to live life as God intended, for the reason you were created.

– with a hundred times more houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, property (Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29-30)

A disciple is one who worships. Read John 4:23-24.

What does this verse say?

How can you live this out?

A disciple is a servant. Read John 13:1-17.

What is a servant?

How can you live this out?

A disciple is a witness. Read Matthew 28:18-20.

What is the Great Commission?

How can you live this out?

What does it mean:

To live for yourself or to deny yourself?

To ignore the cross or to take it up?

To seek to save your life (and lose it) or to lose it (and actually find it)?

To gain the world or forsake the world?

To lose your soul or keep it?

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 11 – Honor]]

Glory / Honor / Pride / Humility

John 13:12-17 – When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

OUR LIGHT SHINES FOR GOD’S GLORY

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

HE ALONE GETS THE GLORY

Luke 17:7-10 – “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease.

Revelation 5:12 – saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 

Revelation 1:6 – and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

CHILD-LIKE HUMILITY IS GREATEST

Matthew 18:2-4 – And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 20:25-28 – But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

THE HUMBLE ARE EXALTED

Luke 14:8-11 – “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14 – To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HEART

Matthew 15:8-9 – This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

Luke 16:15 – And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. 

REJOICE THAT YOUR NAME IS IN HEAVEN

Luke 10:17-20 – The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

John 12:26 – If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. 

Read Luke 17:7-10. This passage discusses a master and a servant. The question proposed is “does he (the master) thank the servant because he did what he was commanded?” 

Why is this question so important? What does it mean?

The passage later speaks of “unworthy servants.” Why are the servants unworthy? How does this relate to us?

 

Read Luke 20:46-47. This passage talks about the scribes who lived life for all to see. 

What does this passage say they did? 

 

What will happen to these people? Why do you think this will happen?

 

Read John 7:17-19. In this passage, Jesus speaks about whether the teaching is from God or His own authority. 

What does the passage say about a person who speaks on his own authority?

 

How does this relate to our own lives?

 

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What Jesus Said: Red Letter Series

[[Week 12 – Pray]]

In Jesus Name

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” – John 14:13-14

Abide in Him

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

God loves when you tell God Who He is to you.

Individual Prayer

Matthew 26:36 – Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 

If Jesus needed a place to go alone to pray, don’t you think you do?

Matthew 6:6 – But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

God does not value corporate prayer above personal prayer (ex: handmade cards from kids are the ones you save).

Persistent and Bold 

Ask, Seek, Knock – Continuous (Not Single Request – Present Tense)

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” – Matthew 7:7-11

Made in Faith

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:24-25 

Without Ceasing

Pray without ceasing – be aware He is with you all day long – Luke 18:1-8

Prayers for You

Jesus prays for all believers – John 17:20-26

Greater Things

John 14:12-14 Greater things – ask/done

Read Matthew 6:9. This passage begins the Lord’s Prayer. We read, “Our Father.” What does that mean to you? Is He your father? Do you feel like you are a child of God?

The verse continues, “Hallowed be Your name.” This basically says, “Holy be Your name.” This is a form of reverence. The word reverence means “deep respect.” Do you have deep respect for God? Do you approach Him with respect?

Read Matthew 6:10. This passage speaks about loyalty to God and His kingdom. We claim this when we say, “Your kingdom come.” It means we seek His Kingdom. This is a Kingdom that offers deliverance. This is a Kingdom of a Sovereign Savior. Are you seeking His Kingdom? Do you want His Kingdom?

The passage continues with “Your will be done.” This is a submission to God’s will. This is proclaiming the desire for God’s will to be done in your life and in the entire world. This is also a recognition that you are the servant and He is the Master. Do you pray for God’s will? Do you seek His will for your life?

Read Matthew 6:12, 14-15. This passage asks for forgiveness as we also have forgiven. This means we have ALREADY forgiven those in our lives that need forgiveness. This means that when we approach God, we need to have a cleared plate. We should not be harboring any unforgiveness. Is there anyone you haven’t forgiven yet? Is there something that you are allowing to get in between you and God? Remember God has forgiven us of much more than we are ever asked to forgive of others.

Read Matthew 6:11. This verse recognizes the provision of God. We often take for grant the provisions of God. This verse helps us to remember that He alone is our provider. Not only should we approach God with reverence, but we should approach God with humility. Do you acknowledge your dependence on God? Do you come before Him with gratitude that He continues to provide? Do you ask for His continued provision, recognizing all you have comes from Him?

Read Matthew 6:13. This verse again speaks of humility. We humbly ask God to help us—to “lead us not into temptation.” The verse continues to ask for deliverances from “the evil one.” With saying this, we understand that we are weak and that there are temptations. We understand that we need God’s help to stand up to these temptations, to not succumb to the temptations. This recognizes that the devil is prowling around trying to steal, kill, and destroy.  Do you ever ask God to help you fight temptation? Do you have something tempting you right now, and you need His help to stand firm? Do you realize that the devil will not stop until he can do everything in his power to steal, kill, and destroy? Ask Him to strengthen your step. Ask Him to deliver you.

Genesis Series Outlines – Back to the Beginning

Genesis 1-2 CREATION

Genesis 1 does NOT specify the age of the cosmos – It is NOT written to address evolution or geologic age – it is a story about WHO GOD IS. 

It is not literal – exactly/exact

It is not figurative – figure of speech, metaphor (something is something else)

It is analogical – analogies compare things so you can see relationship

REGARDLESS OF THEORIES, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PREXISTENCE OF GOD IS CENTRAL

View 1 – God created everything and then models the earth

View 2 – Gap Theory – between 1:1 & 1:2 is the fall of Satan

View 3 – Genesis 1:3 starts the story, 1:1 is summary title and 1:2 is the condition at the beginning (something is WRONG – chaos)

Some Other Views:

Dualism – God and everything else existed side by side – two opposite powers in the universe

Pantheism – God is in everything and everyone (ex: a tree is God, a rock is God, the sun is God, you are God)

Panentheism – Everything is a part of God, God is finite and changing, everything including the universe is contained within God

Materialism – Material physical world is all there is

What is a Scientist doing??? Thinking God’s thoughts after Him and discovering the laws that God built into His world at creation. 

Recurring formula

Introduction – and God said

Command – let there be

Report – and it was so

Evaluation – it was good

Time Sequence – there was evening / morning

Before Genesis:

Redemption is planned

God existed (Psalm 90:2)

The Trinity is in loving communion.

After Genesis: 

Redemption is accomplished

Formed Fullness

Light 4. Luminaries

Sea & Expanse 5. Birds/Fish

Earth & Vegetation 6. Land Animals & Humans

Understanding the Role of Humankind

Be fruitful & multiply – humans continue the creative activity of God (1:28)

Humanity was to have dominion over all creation as a result of bearing God’s image (1;26)

Being created as divine image-bearers also implies that humans were created specifically for relationship with God

Genesis 1:26-27 – we were created to be like God which is why Jesus told us we would do things He did and even greater (John 14:12)

Genesis 2:15 – describes the “rule” of the first Adam, later Jesus Who would come later to “rule” our hearts (Romans 5:12-19)

Understanding the place of Woman

Woman was not made out of the head – rule upon

Woman was not made out of the feet – trample upon

Woman was made out of the side – equal with

Woman was made under the arm – protected

Woman was made from near the heart – beloved

Understanding the place of Rest

Sabbath – Shabbat – related to the word for “7” which is the number of completion – it means to cease working, to rest.

God didn’t need to rest. God rested because salvation was complete. He made order out of the chaos. The earth that was “formless and empty” was now formed and full.

By leaving us this example of rest, God shows us the rhythm and balances in the world. We, too, can live with the rhythm and balances God has placed in the world, and find that rest is a great gift of God.

READ PSALM 104

People have different ideas about what Genesis 1 tells us about Creation. Over the years, discussions and arguments have continued. When you read Genesis 1:1-2, we can clearly note some things. Read the verses again. What can you glean?

 

Read Genesis 2:15. What is the man placed in the garden to do?

In Genesis 1:28, we read that God blessed humans and then said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” What does this mean for us? How can we live this out?

Read Genesis 2:16-17, 25. God tells Adam what he can and cannot do in verses 16-17. In verse 25, we read that Adam and Eve were naked. Many scholars believe “naked,” means “naïve.” Why would Adam and Eve be naïve? Are we as naïve or more so?

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Genesis 3: The Fall

Situation

Naked & Crafty – both word roots are related (ARAM)

Naked – Arom (aw-rome’) – naked – in original sense

Crafty – Arum (aw-room’)- crafty, shrewd, sensible – passive participle

Adam & Eve

2:25 – both naked and felt no shame

Vulnerable & don’t know it

Serpent

Shrewdness – can be a good thing

God made serpent crafty, man must learn wisdom. Serpent placed there to help.

Not to eat from tree of knowledge of good & evil is A TEST

Sin

Adam & Eve

Changing word of God

The word “freely” is omitted – Eat or Touch Tree rather than just Eat (2:16, 3:3)

Should touch tree, cultivate it – Never said not to touch

Adam & Eve put a hedge around it

Not good being withheld (v. 22) – know good & EVIL, don’t want to live with evil forever – Not just a restriction, reason for the restriction

Eve said: Tree was beautiful, fruit looked delicious, and she wanted wisdom

Temptation – opportunity to accomplish good thing in a bad way

Serpent

Questioned God’s word (v. 1b)

Serpent calls into question the good intentions of God

Denied God’s word (v. 4)

Substituted his own lie (v. 5)

Partial truth – Adam & Eve did discover good & evil

Serpent told what Eve would gain but never mentioned what would lose.

Lie – contradicts what God said 

If don’t believe the truth, then eventually you believe lies (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Shame

Adam & Eve

Self-justification, Excuses but no confession 

Not cursed, just punished. 

Adam – pain in ground till 

Eve – pain in birth, desire to control husband

Not comfortable with each other

Not comfortable in God’s presence

Disruption of their God-given roles in the created order.

Serpent

God doesn’t question the serpent – Adam & Eve were above the serpent and they could question.

Serpent & ground are cursed

Obedience brings blessing– Disobedience brings judgment

Salvation

God calling Adam – act of grace, could have spoken judgment & destroyed

Genesis 3:15 – protoevangelium, 1st glimpse of the gospel

God created this world and everything in it. As He created, He said the things were “good.” In a world that was created “good,” why did evil have to be a potential?

 

In verse 6, we read that Eve gave some of the fruit to her husband Adam. So often when involved in sin, we follow “the more, the merrier.” Consider both Adam and Eve. Why were they at fault?

 

Satan has a great method that he uses against us. He boldly and confidently challenges the truthfulness of God’s Word. Read what Jesus says about the devil in John 8:44. 

How did Satan challenge God’s Word in Genesis 3?

 

How should we respond when God’s Word is challenged?

 

Read Proverbs 1:1-7. Adam & Eve were naïve. Solomon wrote about wisdom and instruction. What can you glean from this passage, that relates to Genesis 3?

 

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Genesis 4-5 BROTHERS

Genesis shows the importance of commitment to family loyalty – “brother” 9 x’s like we have forgotten from one verse to the next that Cain and Abel are brothers.

Big question: How can there be blessing to the human race if killing each other off?

Cain

Name like Hebrew word “Acquired” because he was the 1st son of Adam & Eve

He had no respect or regard, exceedingly angry, looked sad & depressed

Cain’s name reminds us life comes from God

Abel 

Name means “Breath” – same word Vanity (in Ecclesiastes 38 x’s)

Abel’s name reminds us that life is brief

Situation

Cain gave “some”, Abel gave “the best portions.”

God told Cain in v. 7 “You will be accepted if you do what is right” – this means he didn’t do what was right. All has to do with the HEART.

Eve was talked into her sin; Cain could not be talked out of his sin (even by God Himself)

Cain lied: v. 8, let’s go into the field, lied to self by thinking that he could get away, v. 9 lied to God saying he didn’t know the location of his brother

Consequences

Cain’s sin is carefully premeditated murder of his own brother out of envy and hatred. He did this after being at the altar of God to worship God. It was done in spite of warning and promise. Later, he took it lightly and tried to lie his way out.

Cain is cursed and banished (v. 11), homeless wanderer, v. 14 says removed from presence of God – can’t reside with Holy God when wrapped in sin.

God shows mercy & grace to Cain with the Mark of Cain  

Cain NEVER repents, only feels remorse and regret – he chose to cling to sinful life

Seth – name means “Granted” or “Appointed.” After the sin, the parents were blessed with Seth. He would be taking the place of the FIRSTBORN.

First is not first – Cain/Seth, Ishmael/Isaac, Esau/Jacob, Reuben/Joseph’s sons

4:26 – 1st began to worship the Lord by name (Rev. 4:8b – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty–the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”)

Chapter 5 – gives us a glimpse of hope

A look at the genealogy and we see again and again… Died, died, died, died…

But there’s HOPE…

Enoch – walked in habitual fellowship with God; 5:24 – God took him home with Him – here is a man who is faithfully walking with the LORD

5:29 – Noah “may he bring us relief” – shall bring relief and comfort from our work and the grievous toil of our hands due to the ground being cursed by the Lord—here’s another man who will faithfully walk with the LORD.

When God gives Cain an opportunity to do what is right, he tells Cain that “sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master” (v. 7).

What does is mean that sin is crouching at the door?

 

How does sin control you?

 

How do you subdue sin?

 

Cain only presents “some of his crops” (v. 3). Cain then lies to get his brother alone (v. 8). Cain kills his brother (v. 8). Cain lies to God about not knowing the location of his brother (v. 9). Each of these items is a sin. This shows how one sin can easily lead to another. What sin do you think is the worst?

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Genesis 6-8 FLOOD

Whole world fallen so severely into sin

Even the faithful line of Seth disappeared except one righteous man NOAH.

Flood shows extent God will go to bring about holiness

Proves that He will sacrifice everything else for holiness

Reveals that God is a judge with distinctions

It sets a pattern of provision and warning for recipients of grace

Starts new life of worship into new covenant

Exhibits God’s deadly anger over sin

6:4 – Fallen men view – Sons of God (Seth) & Daughters of men (Cain); godly men took ungodly women

Sethite view – Sons of God (Seth) & fallen children 

Fallen angels view – Fallen angels bread with human woman to produce Nephilim

Fallen angels overtook men – Fallen angels possessed men & caused them to breed w/ women

6:5 – broke His heart

6:8 – Noah found grace / favor

Not because Noah was perfect but because God is gracious. 

God warned Noah; Noah obeyed precisely

6:9 – righteous, blameless, solely devoted to serving and pleasing 

1st time “righteous” used in Bible           

Righteous – Standing by God

Blameless – Standing by man (doesn’t mean sinless)

8:1 – God remembers His own, God remembered Noah

“Remember” – pay attention to fulfill a promise, act on behalf

8:15 – Noah didn’t leave until commanded to do so

Waited for God

About 26 days after all dried up (8:13, 8:16)

Noah was in Ark over a year 

8:20 – God receives worship

8:21 – No more additional curses than one already in place 

God promises to never again destroy the world because of sin 

Instead He sacrifices His son.

The earth was dead and buried because of water but ark rose up (resurrection) – 1 Peter 3:18-22

God renews His world / God rewards faith

Read Genesis 6:2. This verse references the Sons of God and the Daughters of Man. There are many viewpoints regarding these two groups that scholars debate. In this verse, we read what the Sons of God did. 

What did they do? 

 

What can we take from this?

 

Read Genesis 6:5. This verse speaks about the human wickedness on the earth. 

What does this verse say about the people during this time period?

 

How do we differ today? What can we take from this?

 

Read Genesis 6:9 and Genesis 7:1. Noah alone is considered righteous. Noah is considered blameless. Noah is said to walk in close fellowship with God.

What does it mean that Noah is righteous? Blameless?

 

Did Noah sin?

 

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Genesis 9-10 COVENANT & NATIONS

Sustaining life (9:1-4)

9:1 – be fruitful / multiply / fill earth – see Genesis 1:28 – omits subdue – fallen men cannot subdue the earth

Protecting life (9:5-6)

Multiplying life (9:7)

Enjoying life (9:8-11)

God Confirms Covenant (9:12-15)

Covenant – giving external form to already existing relationship

Rainbow – sign of covenant, “remember My covenant,”

3 rainbows – Noah, Ezekiel (1:28) glory of the Lord, John (Revelation 4:3) throne

Problems after the flood (9:18-29)

Though sinful people washed away, the potential for sin remained in the heart of Noah and his children (free will).

9:21 – wine mentioned for 1st time

Noah is guilty of Intoxication and Self-exposure but the focus of the story on Ham’s reaction

Ham had clear disrespect for his father – gossiping / publicizing sin

Ham’s fault was breaking the bonds of the family loyalty

9:23 – Shem & Japheth show example of proper reaction

9:26 – don’t expose sin / seek to restore it (Galatians 6:1-2)

9:24-27 – Curse of Ham’s son Canaan, blessing of Japheth & Shem

Canaanites – notorious in OT for illicit sexual practices (Genesis 15:16, Leviticus 18:3)

Canaanites cursed because they will turn hearts of Israelites away from God – Deuteronomy 7

Table of Nations (10:1-32)

Interrelatedness of human family

All members of one human race by virtue of our descent from one family. All imprinted with the imago Dei and share in the dignity of human existence. 

Horizontal Genealogy shows lines of familial relationship and establishes near relatives.

Inverted family tree shows nearest related owe family loyalty to

The Line of Hope – Shem

10:21 – God would bless the world through Shem “Semites” – see Luke 3:35-36

Read Genesis 9:1-11. God confirms His covenant with the people. When you read this passage, what is the takeaway?

 

It’s sad when we read of Noah’s fall in Genesis 9, after he previously walked so faithfully with God. Noah may be guilty of intoxication and self-exposure, but his son Ham also was guilty of sin. Read Galatians 6:1-2. 

What does this verse say we should and shouldn’t do?

 

How might Ham have restored his father?

 

Does this mean that we keep quiet about sin completely?

 

What were the consequences of Ham’s actions?

 

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Genesis 11 – THE TOWER

Genesis 6:5 – “The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” [NLT]

God’s intervention against human pride and rebellion to scatter people across the earth, disrupting their rebellious unity by making them use different language.

Babel means “gate of God,” “confusion,” and “folly.”

Tradition holds Nimrod (great-grandson to Noah) may have led in building – Nimrod’s name means “we shall rebel”, Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed it.

The sin was not the desire to build a city, but the motivation to build. They wanted to make a themselves a city to reach heaven and make a name for themselves (11:4).

God wants unity & harmony, but united with Him – not apart from Him.

The people were united in rebellion.

The Tower is a monument to salvation by works

Man tries to trespass in God’s realm

Some say the tower was a way to get to heaven without God

The wording may not be talking about heaven as we consider heaven. It means a city with a tower that is very high (see Deuteronomy 1:28 with the same phrasing of walled up to heaven).

The Tower is a monument to human pride

They wanted to display their own glory. They were united for the wrong purpose.

The Tower is a monument to the disobedience of man

Wanted to be one people and were not interested in spreading across the earth 

Genesis 9:1 commands them to replenish the earth

Genesis 11:1-2 – one language, one speech, dwelt in one area

There were already different languages. Genesis 10:4-5 says every one according to its language

Genesis 11:1 says “whole earth,” but this doesn’t mean globally. Verse 2 speaks of people that moved eastward. This isn’t all people on the earth; just a group of people in this Babylon area.

Their refusal of God’s plan for blessing results in disunity of the race

The Tower is a monument to the disbelief of God & His Word

God said He would never flood the world again; some scholars believe the people built the Tower to be above the flood zone

There is hope

In 11:30 we read that Sarah was barren. 

The people wanted to make their name great. God would make Abraham’s name great.

The Tower was seen by some as a monument to salvation by works.

When do you get caught up in this same activity?

How can you better rest in your salvation through grace alone?

The Tower was seen by some as a monument to human pride. Pride is one of the biggest causes of sin. 

What keeps your pride in check?

How can you be more focused on God getting the glory?

The Tower was seen by some as a monument to the disobedience of man. The people did not want to obey God’s command to replenish the earth.

What causes disobedience?

How can we be more obedient to God and His Word?

The Tower was seen by some as a monument to the disbelief of God and His Word. God promised never to flood the earth again.

Why is it hard to trust God and His Word?

How has God been faithful in the past?

How can we remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God?

———————————————————

Genesis 12 – ABRAM

Abram means “EXALTED FATHER.”

Abram was NOT the 1st born – Genesis 11:26 notes Abram, Nahor, and Haran (1st born)

Abram – sojourner, foreigner – settles in land not own – not born in – no family

Joshua 24:2 – when God called Abram & Sarai, they belonged to a family that had worshiped idols.

In Ur of the Chaldees & Haran – people worshiped the moon god.

Genesis 12:1 – “Now the Lord said to Abram”

God initiates – Abram gave up known for the unknown

“I will show you” not “already showed”

Genesis 12:7 – Altar at Moreh

Go away from:

His country/land

His people/clan/family

His father’s household

He took family member (Lot) with him – wasn’t what God directed, but he didn’t take Lot for protection; Abram was protecting Lot so he was trusting God.

Promised:

Land

Descendants/Great Nation

Blessing

12:3 – blessing to others (blessed to be a blessing)

He personally would NOT have all the promises of God

Some of the promises of God would come later

But Abram had better – He had the God of all the promises

It always comes down to RELATIONSHIP – RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Abram in Egypt – Lying about Sarai 

Meant to deceive

Using ½ truth to conceal the other ½ truth – no less a lie

As her brother, he believes he will be respected and honored

As her husband, he feared he would be killed

Lost faith in God’s protection

Even so, in 12:17, we read that the Lord protects Abram and Sarai. He sent a horrible plague upon Pharaoh

Abram was asked by God to leave the known (his family, land, people) for the unknown. What would be the hardest for you to leave behind?

 

Have you ever left behind everything known to pursue the unknown with God?

Read Genesis 12:2-3. This verse says that all the families on earth will be blessed through Abram. 

What are the 7 blessings mentioned?

Why are all the families on earth blessed through Abram?

 

Abram, who faithfully left all he knew to follow God, was not perfect. While in Egypt, Abram lies about his wife Sarai.

What does this tell you about Abram? 

 

What is God’s response?

 

———————————————————

Genesis 13-14 – ABRAM & LOT

Land Situation

Previously a famine in land;

now land unable to support Abram & Lot

Abram justified in selecting the best land for himself and sending Lot to fend for himself as Abram was the elder. 

Even so, Abram relinquished his hold on material things – trusted God

Lot chose best share of land without regard of his uncle, his choice also put him close to sinful Sodom. Lot was unconcerned with associating with the wrong crowd and eventually this gets him into trouble.

God reassured Abram of His promise

Abram shows us that a life of faith is possible if you keep your eyes on God and His promises no matter how bad the circumstances and situations look

The Rescue of Lot

4 Kings: King of Elam, King of Goyim, King of Shinar, King of Ellasar 

went against 5 Kings: King of Sodom, King of Gomorrah, King of Admah, King of Zeboyim, and King of Bela (Zoar)

4 Kings seized all the goods of Sodom & Gomorrah, captured Lot and his possessions

Abram found out & took 318 trained men to recover his nephew Lot and Lot’s possessions.

Abram was victorious. Afterward, the King of Salem came to meet him.

Melchizedek blesses Abram

Melchizedek was King of Salem & Priest (14:18-19)

He brought bread & wine, blessed Abram

Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything (14:20)

Abram refuses to receive from King of Sodom

King of Sodom told Abram to give the people but keep goods for yourself (14:21)

Abram refused (14:23) – “I will accept nothing belonging to you… so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’”

Although Abram had the right to choose the land he desired, and kick Lot out, he left Lot choose first. 

How does this show Abram’s faith?

 

What happens after Lot makes his choice?

 

Later, Lot gets in trouble. Abram finds out and rushes to the rescue of his nephew. Following the great victory, Melchizedek blessed Abram. 

What does Abram give Melchizedek?

 

Why do you think Abram gave this to Melchizedek?

 

There are some scholars who believe that Melchizedek is a Christophany. A Christophany is the pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Read Psalm 110, Hebrews 6:20, & Hebrews 7:3. Why would scholars consider this possibility?

 

Abram refuses to take anything from the King of Sodom (see 14:22-24). Why did he refuse?

———————————————————

Genesis 15 – ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

Faith & Covenant

Defining Abraham’s special relationship with God

Justifying Faith (15:6)

Reaffirm promise of descendants & land given in Genesis 12:1-3

[V.2] Abram questions God – seeks further confidence that God will fulfill promise

Trying to better grasp the Word of God to:

understand better 

follow God faithfully

[V.6] “And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” [NLT]

1st pt. Abram believed the Lord

2nd pt. God credited him (Abram) as righteous

Righteousness – not absolute standard

It’s a right personal relationship with God who alone is righteous

Process of Covenant

Pre-Ceremony Actions – discussing of terms, conditions, promises of blessing & warning of curses related to agreement (Genesis 12:1-8) Actual covenant ceremony only happened in Genesis 15

Selection of Covenant Representatives and Cutting of Covenant Sacrifice – Lord was smoking fire pot and flaming torch, passed through pieces of covenant sacrifice (Genesis 15:17), Abraham was covenant representative for mankind

Walk unto Death – Basically saying “Do so to me as has been done to this animal if I break this covenant.” The people would walk around the pieces of sacrifice and face each other. God did this with Abraham – “When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.” (Genesis 15:17); Jesus walk from Gethsemane to the Cross.

Seal of the Covenant Mark – special sign/token – circumcision (Genesis 17:10-13)

Exchange of Names (Genesis 17:5, 15) Abram renamed Abraham

Covenant Meal – Abraham & Sarah sharing meal with visitors (Genesis 18:5-10)

Read Genesis 15:2-3. Abram questions God. He was trying to better grasp God’s Word to understand and follow faithfully. 

When is it okay to question the Word of God?

 

When is it not okay to question the Word of God?

 

Read Genesis 15:6. This verse says that Abram believed God, and because he believed God, he was righteous. This means he was in right standing with God. 

Read Genesis 15:8. What is Abram doing?

 

How can someone believe and still question?

 

What can you do when you believe but still question?

 

———————————————————

Genesis 16 – HAGAR & ISHMAEL

 [v. 2] Sarai said that the Lord prevented her from having children. This was said after the promise was made by God – God promised to make Abram a “great nation” in chapter 12, and renewed the promise in chapter 13. In Genesis 15, God promise his heir would be his “very one son.”

[v. 2] Sarai initiates Abram sleeping with the slave Hagar. Abram agrees.

It was acceptable in the culture to give maid when barren to produce children BUT in this case, this was God’s people making other arrangements without God’s direction (as God promised a child). This is Abram & Sarah trying to “help God” along.

God insists the plan involves Sarai (Genesis 17-18)

Not listening to God & waiting on Him results in relationship consequences for the group.

Hagar despises Sarai (v. 5-6)

Abram puts Hagar in Sarai’s hands (v. 6)

Sarai mistreats Hagar (v. 6)

Hagar flees (v. 6)

Angel appears to Hagar with promise of Ishmael (v. 9-12)

Hagar gave the Lord the name “the God who sees” (v. 13)

Hagar gave birth to Ishmael (v. 15)

Sarai came up with the idea for Abram to take Hagar to conceive a child. Abram was quick to act on her request. What does this say about Abram?

 

Taking the maidservant to conceive a child was common. As a slave, Hagar really had no freedom to choose. How do you think Hagar felt?

 

Read Genesis 16:5. What does the verse say about the relationship with Hagar and Sarai? Why do you think Hagar looked at Sarai that way? 

 

The angel of the Lord tells Hagar to submit to Sarai in Genesis 16:9. 

What would this mean for Hagar?

 

What was Hagar promised?

 

Hagar is the first person to give God another name. What did Hagar call God? What does this name mean to you?

 

———————————————————

Genesis 17-18:15 – RENAMED

God reveals Himself

Genesis 15:1 – I AM your shield

Genesis 15:7 – I AM the LORD

Genesis 17:1-2 – I AM God Almighty

17:1 – God’s deepest desire for Abram “serve Me faithfully & live a blameless life.”

God reveals our destiny

God renames Abram & Sarai

Name- Personal Character, Personal Destiny

Name change represents change in Character/Destiny

Abram “Exalted Father” to Abraham “Father of Many”

Destiny to be a Father of Many Nations

Sarai to Sarah – both mean “Princess”

God enters into special covenant relationship with Abraham

Sign of Covenant – circumcision

Covenant meal – three visitors eat with the couple

God promises son –parents laugh (Abraham 17:17, Sarah 18:12)

Rather than rebuke Sarah for unbelief, God gently reminds her that the One Who knew her name and heard her innermost thought is able to bring it to pass.

Genesis 18:14 – Is anything too hard for the Lord?

In Genesis 17:1, God tells Abram what He desires: walk faithfully and be blameless.

How can you walk faithfully / serve faithfully?

How can you be blameless?

Names in the Bible point to personal character and personal destiny. Look at these name changes. Consider the reason for the change (change in character & destiny).

Abram to Abraham (“Exalted Father” to “Father of Many”) – Genesis 17:5

Sarai to Sarah (“Princess”) – Genesis 17:15

Jacob to Israel (“Supplanter” to “Prevails with God”) – Genesis 32:28, Genesis 35:10

Simon to Peter (“Listen” to “Rock”) – John 1:42

Saul to Paul (“Prayed For” to “Humble”) – Acts 9, Acts 13

What does your name mean? (If you don’t know, make a mental note to look it up).

Do you think your name suits you? Do you want to live out your name? 

Do you think you need renamed?

Look at Revelation 2:17. What does this say? What do you think this means?

Read Genesis 17:17 and 18:12. In these verses, God is laughed at in disbelief. 

Why is it hard for Abraham and Sarah to believe?

Why is it hard for YOU to believe?

What happens when Abraham and Sarah laugh?

———————————————————

Genesis 18:16-33 to 20 – SODOM & GOMORRAH

Divine Intentions (Genesis 18:16-19): Reveals plan to teach him how to do what is right

Divine Hesitation (Genesis 18:22): Yahweh remained standing before Abraham

Yahweh waits for Abraham to speak. God patiently, longingly, waiting for his servant to plead.

18:22B – Changed from “The Lord stood before Abraham” to “Abraham stood before the Lord.” It seemed inappropriate that God would wait patiently for His servant. This change is known as a Tikkun Sofrim (Scribal change).

Servant’s Intercession (Genesis 18:23-33): Bases plea on God’s character, persistent in prayer

Abraham shows concern for someone other than himself.

Abraham was bargaining to save people – exploring God’s heart and mind.

Understood God intended to destroy city but not sure about mercy of God. 

Mercy of God shown by rescue of undeserving and reluctant Lot

Anger toward sin shown with destruction of sinful cities.

Genesis 19:19: When told to run – Lot hesitates 

God is so gracious, saved his life, showed kindness BUT…

Compromised righteousness – Lot hasn’t spoken seriously about spiritual things to his family, offers daughters up.

Offering of daughters: Why? 

Hoping fiancé would come to rescue

Homosexual attackers not interested

Lot was influenced by the evil practices around him

In Genesis 18:23-32, Abraham questions if God would not destroy Sodom for 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, or 10 righteous people. As Abraham questions God, it is made clear that if these people existed in Sodom, God would spare the entire city. 

We know that the city of Sodom was destroyed. This means what?

 

Read Genesis 19:29. Why was Lot rescued?

 

Was Lot righteous?

Read 2 Peter 2:6-8. What does this passage say about Lot?

 

How could this be true when he acted the way he did?

 

Lot and his daughters left Sodom, but Sodom did not leave Lot and the girls. 

Read Genesis 19:31. What was everyone else doing? (What was the custom?)

 

Lot’s daughters decided there were two impossible situations in this verse. What were they?

 

How does this sinful action on the part of Lot’s daughters have long lingering consequences? (See Genesis 19:36-38)

 

———————————————————

Genesis 21-24 – ISAAC

Isaac was the only patriarch that was not renamed. 

Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel.

Isaac lived to be 180 years old (much older than Abraham and Jacob lived to be).   

Yet less incidents were documented in the Bible about his life.

Genesis 21:2 – Isaac came at just the right time.

Genesis 21:6 – Sarah 1st laughed in unbelief, later laughed in joy

Genesis 21:10 – Expulsion of Hagar & Ishmael – son of bondwoman not inherit with freewoman son

Genesis 21:19 – God provided for them in the wilderness.

Genesis 21:22-34 – Abraham makes agreement with Abimelech 

Genesis 21:22 – “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do.”

Genesis 21:30 – Accept the 7 lambs to show agreement that I dug the well

Genesis 12 & Genesis 22 frame around the story

Genesis 12 – call of God forces Abraham to let go of everything familiar / security

Genesis 22 – call of God to sacrifice Isaac is challenge to release the promises of God

Everything Abraham hoped for was focused on Isaac

Genesis 12 – calls Abraham to leave his past.

Genesis 22 – calls Abraham to leave his future.

It’s all about radical abandonment to follow God’s will

Genesis 22 – contains NO promises 

Sacrifice of Isaac: Do you love God or do you love God’s gifts?

Take. Go. Offer a sacrifice.

Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac

Genesis 23 – Sarah dies

Abraham buys a small piece of the Promised Land

Genesis 24 – “God of my master”

Abraham’s faith fueled the servant’s faith. 

Genesis 24:6, 8 – Do not take my son back there.

Genesis 24:15 – Before the servant finished praying – God didn’t even wait, no holding back

Rebekah

Genesis 24:26 – The servant worships

Read Genesis 21:14-20. 

Hagar was sent away with Ishmael. In verse 14, it says that she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba. This is the 2nd time she went away.

What is different about this venture away compared to the time she ran away?

 

What is the same about this venture? How does God fulfill His promise to Hagar?

 

Read Genesis 24:6-8. What is Abraham doing with the servant?

 

Read Genesis 24:12-27. 

What does verse 12 tell you about the servant’s faith?

 

When Rebekah arrives, the response is in abundance of the signs that the servant requested. What did he ask for and what did she provide? What does this mean to you?

 

What do we read that the man does a few times in this chapter that he likely was not apt to do before this venture? (see v. 26, v. 52) What does this mean to you?

 

———————————————————

Genesis 25-26 – ESAU & JACOB

Genesis 25:1 – Abraham marries Keturah

Genesis 25:5 – Abraham gives everything he owned to Isaac

Genesis 25:7 – Abraham dies

Genesis 25:19-26 – Birth of Esau & Jacob

Nearly 12 chapters devoted to Isaac’s sons (much more than Isaac)

Rebekah & Isaac waited 20 years until they had children (v. 20, v. 26)

Only one verse about the barrenness – compared to all Sarah’s verses

Why? That’s not eh focus – focus will be Jacob & his actions

Jacob – “make God protect” sounds like “overtake” or “deceive” or “cheat”

Esau – hairy / Edom – red

Genesis 25:27-34 – Selling of Birthright

Esau (hunter) & Jacob (homebody)

Isaac loves Esau, Rebekah loves Jacob

Parental Favoritism – plague family (see Genesis 37:3 – Jacob loves Joseph the most)

1st born gets double portion of estate (Deuteronomy 21:17)

Rank second in family, second to their father (Genesis 43:33)

Esau had indifference toward family responsibilities & privileges

Esau is manipulated, not cheated 

Only one bowl of stew and he is no longer dying (DRAMA QUEEN)

Faith is living without scheming – Jacob was divinely chosen to receive the birthright & blessing – no need to scheme for it.

Genesis 26:1-11 – Isaac Deceives Abimelech

Genesis 26:2-5, 24 – Covenant repeated

Genesis 26:7 – Isaac lies about wife, just like dad

Genesis 26:12-25 – Water Rights

Genesis 26:26-34 – Covenant

Read Genesis 25:28, Romans 2:11, and James 2:9. 

What does God think about favoritism?

 

Read Genesis 37:3. We have Isaac & Rebekah show favoritism. Later, we read about Jacob showing favoritism.

What happens when there is favoritism?

 

What happened because of favoritism shown by Isaac & Rebekah? What happened because of the favoritism shown by Jacob to Joseph?

 

How can you guard against showing favoritism to others?

 

In Genesis 26, we read that Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. God promises Isaac that if he lives there, he will be blessed.

Read Genesis 26:12-13. What happens to Isaac?

 

How do the Philistines respond to this blessing?

 

Has anyone ever responded this way when you are blessed? How can you respond?

 

Read Genesis 26:26-28. 

Why does King Abimelech seek out Isaac?

 

How does the king see this? How can people see this in us?

 

———————————————————

Genesis 27-28 – JACOB

Genesis 27

Death Bed Blessing  

Played an important role in determining the destiny of descendants. It was more of a prophesy than a prayer.

Isaac only summons his favorite son. All sons were to be present. (v. 1)

Deception of Rebekah & Jacob

Rebekah refused to wait on God’s timing & trust His promise.

Jacob’s only objection was because of fear of detection – he wasn’t concerned about moral disapproval. (v. 11-12)

Many Lies:

Claimed to be Esau (v. 19)

Claimed to have obeyed his father’s wishes (v. 19)

Called the meat his game (v. 19)

Gave credit to the Lord for finding so quickly (v. 20)

Reassured again that he was Esau when hands were felt (v. 21-24)

Kiss – hypocritical (v. 27)

Rebekah was forced to send her loved Jacob away. She would never see Jacob again. (v. 42-45)

Genesis 28

Sent to Marry

Isaac didn’t arrange Esau’s marriage like Abraham did for Isaac. (v. 1-9)

Jacob was tricked to marry Leah. He would also practice favoritism.

Jacob’s Dream

Genesis 28:10-22 – Time for Jacob to live out his own faith, not just his parent’s faith.

Rebekah and Jacob open a huge can of worms with the lies and deception so that Jacob gets the deathbed blessing. Consider the situation: the request from Isaac, the plan of Rebekah, the actions of Jacob.

What does this say about Isaac?

What does this say about Rebekah?

What does this say about Jacob?

Would Jacob have received the blessing if Rebekah and Jacob did not act?

Jacob had a dream of a stairway to heaven. In the dream, the LORD said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac” (v. 13). When he awoke, he said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (v. 16). 

The LORD reveals Himself to Jacob as the God of Abraham and Isaac. What does this revelation do for Jacob?

Why would he not be aware of the LORD being in the place?

What does Jacob do when he wakes up the next morning?

———————————————————

Genesis 29-31 – JACOB & LABAN

[Resentment of Laban / Favoritism for Rachel]

No sparkle Leah / beautiful lovely Rachel (29:17)

Genesis 29:18 – Jacob couldn’t pay the bride price as he had nothing

Offered 7 years of work – a very considerable amount of time

Jacob meets his match in Laban – Laban tricked him – Jacob was trapped into marrying Leah

Baby Battle Royal Begins – Leah & her maidservant Zilpah had 8 of the 12 Tribes of Israel

Rachel borrowed mandrakes (fertility drug), but it failed to help her, yet it results in more children for Leah

Genesis 30:1 – Irony of verse, died during birth of 2nd child

Laban tried to limit Jacob’s success but God was blessing Jacob

Jacob stayed 20 years (never saw mom again). Jacob schemed, sneaked, and cheated, yet God counted him as righteous. God calls Jacob back to Canaan, and Jacob schemes his way out of town.

Laban was distracted with sheep shearing (31:19) – busiest time of the year. Later pursued Jacob (31:23). 

Rachel’s theft of idol probably for “good luck” for trip to Canaan

Jacob allowed Laban to search everything (31:32).

Laban proposes covenant peace (31:44)

May be a surprise to Jacob because of how he had left

Jacob has a weak faith, but it’s still faith! He’s even in Hall of Faith!

God is faithful despite Jacob & Laban’s foolishness

Jacob loved Rachel and desired to marry her. Laban first gave Jacob Leah’s hand in marriage in an act of deception.

How do you think Jacob felt?

 

How do you think Leah felt?

 

How do you think Rachel felt?

 

Consider the marriage agreement between Laban and Jacob. How well did Jacob carry out the agreement? How well did Laban fulfill the agreement?

 

Favoritism was a problem with Isaac and Rebekah. This trait continued to be a problem for the Patriarchs. 

How does Jacob’s love for Rachel create a chaotic atmosphere for the sisters and their maids?

 

The relationship of sisters Rachel and Leah was strained due to the marriage arrangements. Read Genesis 30:14-17. How did this love competition impact their actions?

 

We know God does not like favoritism. How does God bless both Leah and Rachel despite the favoritism Jacob has for Rachel?

 

———————————————————

Genesis 32-33 – JACOB & ESAU

[Jacob meets God, Jacob meets Esau]

JACOB PREPARES TO MEET ESAU

Genesis 32:1 – Jacob was met by the “angels of God.” This phrase only appears here and in Genesis 28:12. Jacob saw vision of angels before he left Promised Land and now he encounters angels again as he prepares to return to the Promised Land.

Remember: The last time Jacob saw Esau; he was planning to kill him (27:41)

Jacob could have avoided meeting Esau, but he needed to meet Esau

Anger of Esau was a roadblock to Jacob’s further growth

Spiritually Jacob had to be reconciled with Esau

Jacob is not satisfied with prayer alone (9-12) – Jacob prepares gift for Esau (13-21)

Jacob was trying to assume a lower position with Esau, going against God’s design

JACOB WRESTLES WITH GOD

Wrestles until daybreak (24) – hip out of joint (25) – asks for blessing (26)

Jacob stopped fighting and asks for a blessing.

Blessing this time was rightfully acquired

Israel – change of character “God fights” – You have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed (32:28)

Both a promise and a call for faith

Jacob would have victory & receive the promises because God would fight for him.

Name also would evoke memory of the fight with God and what it meant. He had to be crippled of his own self-sufficiency and dependent on God for his success

Certain ancient religions considered possession of a person’s name power and advantage so the visitor refused.

Peniel “face of God” (32:3)

JACOB MEETS ESAU

Jacob said seeing Esau was like seeing the face of God (33:10)

Jacob worshiped God at Shechem (33:20)

This is where God 1st appeared to Abraham when he entered Canaan

Abraham had built his own altar there (12:6-7)

Just like Abraham, Jacob bought a plot of ground in the land promised (33:19)

Ultimately to belong to his descendants

Read Genesis 25:23. Before the birth of Jacob and Esau, God established who would be the leader of the family. The older son will serve the younger son. In today’s passage, how did Jacob deny what God spoke to Rebekah? What happens when we deny what God has destined?

 

Meeting with Esau was a stressful situation for Jacob, because his brother wanted to kill him the last time they were together. Jacob could have avoided this meeting. Why was this meeting so important for both brothers?

 

When Jacob wrestles with God, his hip is pulled out of socket. Then he says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (32:26).

God could have easily defeated Jacob. Why does God allow Jacob, and us, to hold onto Him?

 

What will the hip dislocation do for Jacob in the future?

 

Personal Reflection: How long do you need to wrestle with God before you yield every part of yourself to Him? What does He need to dislocate in your life?

———————————————————

Genesis 34-35 – REVENGE FOR DINAH

Jacob bought land in Shechem back in Genesis 33:19. Jacob’s prolonged stay at Shechem, when so close to his destination of Bethel is a problem. Possibly was tempted by the benefits of trade with the Shechemites (34:10). Jacob built altar at Shechem. But he was supposed to be worshiping at Bethel. That is where God wanted him.

In these chapters, we see the remains of some of old Jacob instead of Israel.

[CHAPTER 34]

VIOLATION OF DINAH

Dinah – daughter of Leah (less appreciated portion of Jacob’s family), name means “avenged.”

Dinah’s friends in Canaan got her into trouble (34:1)

RESPONSE TO VIOLATION

Simeon (“obedient” or “listening”) & Levi (“attached” or “pledged”)

No one in the narrative acts nobly. Dinah was naïve and careless. Simeon and Levi lied and acted with ruthless violence. Jacob was passive and only thought of himself.

Jacob responded to the violation with indifference. He didn’t take charge, but allowed Dinah’s brothers to negotiate. When a leader doesn’t care or lead, others will arise and take charge. The results might not be good results.

God’s great sign of covenant with Abraham became a ploy for revenge

Jacob despised Simeon & Levi, not because of their harsh judgment, deception, or abuse of the sacred circumcision, but because of warlike act having possible consequences for him. (34:30 me, me, me, I, my) – at least Simeon & Levi cared for Dinah. 

Simeon & Levi did the right thing the wrong way – it’s okay to seek justice, not vengeance. Vengeance is for the Lord (Romans 12:19)

In Genesis 49:5-7 Israel(Jacob) prophesies about these brothers. Simeon is scattered in the southwest corner of the territory of Judah and all over. Levi has no territory but some assigned cities. Simeon is the weakest of all the tribes at the end of the roaming in the Wilderness (Numbers 26:14). Simeon is omitted from the blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33).

[Chapter 35]

Genesis 35 serves as transition from Patriarchal period to beginning of people of Israel.

“Arise, go up to Bethel” – like the wording of Rebekah to Jacob (27:43) & wording of Isaac to Jacob (28:2)

Purged family of foreign gods, cleansing (35:2-5) 

Anything that hinders our spiritual maturity is useless & needs to be thrown off (Hebrews 12:1)

El Bethel “God of Bethel” – (35:6-8)

God has been walking with him on his journey and all success is from God. (35:3)

God appears again to Jacob (35:9-15)

Theophany reaffirms the name Israel after disaster at Shechem. 

Stairway Promises Restated (28:13-14, 35:11-12)

Birth of Benjamin (35:17-18)

Benjamin – 1st king from the tribe (1 Samuel 9)

Death of Rachel (35:19)

Ephrath “fruitful” – Bethlehem “house of bread”

If not for the birth of Jesus, the town of Bethlehem would have been remembered for death of Rachel.

Reuben’s Incest w/Bilhah (35:22)

Bilhah was a maid to Jacob’s beloved Rachel

Lost the birthright (Genesis 49:3-4)

Death of Isaac (35:29)

Deaths of Isaac & Rachel point backward into patriarchal history, birth of Benjamin points forward to fuller narrative of Israel’s story

12 sons now listed (Tribes Complete) – point to the future of Israel

Jacob showed indifference to the violation of his daughter. As a leader of the family, he did nothing. Because of his inaction, his sons stepped forward to respond. 

What happened because Jacob did not act?

Is there an area in your life where you are indifferent right now? An area of your life you are neglecting because of a lack of concern? Why are you not concerned? Ask the Spirit to revive your interest and enthusiasm. 

Read Romans 12:19. 

How can you live this out? 

What is the hardest part to faithful obedience of this verse? What gets in the way of doing this? 

What can you do to be better positioned to faithfully obey?

Simeon and Levi were guilty of much wrongdoing as they sought vengeance for their sister and their family. They acted with harsh judgment. They deceived the people of Shechem. They also abused the sacred sign of the covenant with Abraham, the circumcision.  Their actions resulted in many consequences, some of which lingered. 

We often look judgingly at the sins of Simeon and Levi; however, we too trample on the sacred today. How do we dishonor what was meant to be sacred?

The consequences lingered on for these brothers. Whether we like to admit it, our sins may have consequences for not only ourselves and our immediate family, but for the generations to come. How have you seen lingering consequences of sin in your family? How can you protect the generations to come?

Jacob stayed longer than he should have stayed in Shechem. This led to trouble. Dinah spent too much time with the nearby people. This led to trouble. The people we surround ourselves with and the places we spend our time have a great impact on our lives. Knowing this, how can we make good choices with who we spend our time and where we spend it? Is it hard for you to walk away from some situations? Is it difficult to set boundaries when someone is pulling you away from God?

———————————————————

Genesis 36-38 – JOSEPH AND JUDAH

[Genesis 36]

Esau’s Descendants 

Leading figures of these chapters are Joseph & Judah: Eventually become leading Tribes of Israel

[Genesis 37]

Joseph’s Dreams

Joseph had 2 dreams in different forms with similar or same interpretation

His dreams bothered his brothers, telling the dreams also bothered them

Joseph is Sold

The tunic/coat set him apart from the others

37:12 – Returned to Shechem to pasture father’s flocks – why so far from home? Why were they there when he had bad rep among citizens there?

Perhaps brothers involved with people in Shechem in a way they didn’t want Jacob to know about

37:32 – The brothers sent Joseph’s robe with messenger instead of confronting father personally 

Sons never had to say a thing – Jacob drew a conclusion from bloody tunic

37:35 – stood by – they stood by their father in his time of grief

Nonetheless, horrible way to treat father – he mourned for 20 years (42:36)

IRONY!!! 2 young goats are used by Jacob to deceive his father, now in 37:31- 1 young goat is used by Jacob’s son to deceive his father Jacob!

[Genesis 38]

Judah and Tamar

The Judah and Tamar story in between the Joseph narrative gives great contrast between Judah & Joseph

The episode of Judah and Tamar provides the reasons for sending Israel to Egypt

Tamar more righteous than Judah 

Judah represents all the brothers becoming like Canaanites

Levirate System – no family line would be extinct – had to raise up descendant for dead brother

The child would not be the biological child legally – child would legally be dead brother’s child

Spilling out of semen – wording means it was a repeated practice, not a once and done thing. Onan had no intention on carrying through, but kept having sex with her. Not willing to do the responsible thing, but okay with satisfying his own desires.

In verse 11, he admits he doesn’t want Shelah to die like the other sons. He had no intention of giving Shelah to Tamar. He knew the nature of his sons, and he feared God would kill yet another son.

Judah was irresponsible and unfaithful to his duty to the family line. Tamar fought for her right with deception, in desperation, with courage. It was within her rights to do, but it was deceptive. Judah was wrong to seek out a prostitute as well.

Read Genesis 37:3-4. The beautiful robe (tunic) that Joseph received from Jacob set him apart from his brothers. God also set Joseph apart. What is the difference between man setting you apart and God setting you apart?

 

Read Genesis 37:8. This verse says that the brothers hated that Joseph had the dreams and that he spoke about them too. It wasn’t simply that he was talking about these dreams, but that he was having these dreams. This gets to the heart of the issue. Joseph was having the dreams. The brothers were not. Joseph was going to be used by God to lead the people through a famine; the brothers were not.

Why is it hard to celebrate what God is doing in another’s life?

 

Do you think that your inability to embrace & support your brothers & sisters through their walk, keeps you from progressing on your own walk?

 

There is great danger in wanting to live the life of another. What is the danger?

 

Consider Joseph and Judah at this part of the biblical narrative. The story of Judah and Tamar is a sharp contrast in comparing the brothers. How would you compare Judah and Joseph at this part of Genesis?

 

The Levirate System was in place to keep the family line from going extinct. If you look back in your own family history, you may see instances of this occurring. What do you think is good about this system? What problem would you have with this system?

———————————————————

Genesis 39-41 – JOSEPH

Joseph’s rise to Potiphar’s house (39:1-6a)

39:2 – Lord was with Joseph so he succeeded in everything he did

39:6 – Complete administrative responsibility

39:9 – No one has more authority that I do

39:6b-20a – Even greater fall

Joseph lost his coat but he kept his character

39:20b-23 – Yet another advancement (PRISON)

v. 21 – The Lord was with Joseph in prison

Sometimes it is not enough to be committed and to desire to do what is right. Sometimes we simply must avoid putting ourselves at risk.

Cup bearer & Chief Baker (40:1-4a)  Interpreting dreams is God’s business

Dreams

Foretell & prepare way for Joseph rise to influence

Means by which earlier dreams fulfilled (Genesis 40-41 interpretation fulfill Genesis 37)

Cup Bearer – dream of restoration

Chief baker – dream of death

7 fat (7 years of prosperity) – 7 skinny (7 years of famine)

Rise over Egypt – Pharaoh’s Dreams (41)

Pharaoh was accepted as divine being who could influence other deities

But God’s plan couldn’t be altered by Pharaoh

Slavery & Prison

Obstacles to the promise

Uncompromising integrity

Read Genesis 39:1-6.

Why was Joseph originally chosen to serve Potiphar?

 

After Joseph was put in charge, what then happened to Potiphar and his household?

 

Describe Joseph. What makes him a great servant of God?

 

Read Genesis 39:21-23. What does this say about God?

 

After the chief cupbearer and chief baker were tossed in prison, they each had a dream. When Joseph approached and they told him their dilemma of no one knowing the meaning of their dreams, what was Joseph’s response.

 

The tribe of Judah is the messianic line. How is Joseph used for a great purpose to help the Israelites, including this important line for the people of God? 

 

———————————————————

Genesis 39-41 – JOSEPH

Joseph’s rise to Potiphar’s house (39:1-6a)

39:2 – Lord was with Joseph so he succeeded in everything he did

39:6 – Complete administrative responsibility

39:9 – No one has more authority that I do

39:6b-20a – Even greater fall

Joseph lost his coat but he kept his character

39:20b-23 – Yet another advancement (PRISON)

v. 21 – The Lord was with Joseph in prison

Sometimes it is not enough to be committed and to desire to do what is right. Sometimes we simply must avoid putting ourselves at risk.

Cup bearer & Chief Baker (40:1-4a)  Interpreting dreams is God’s business

Dreams

Foretell & prepare way for Joseph rise to influence

Means by which earlier dreams fulfilled (Genesis 40-41 interpretation fulfill Genesis 37)

Cup Bearer – dream of restoration

Chief baker – dream of death

7 fat (7 years of prosperity) – 7 skinny (7 years of famine)

Rise over Egypt – Pharaoh’s Dreams (41)

Pharaoh was accepted as divine being who could influence other deities

But God’s plan couldn’t be altered by Pharaoh

Slavery & Prison

Obstacles to the promise

Uncompromising integrity

Read Genesis 39:1-6.

Why was Joseph originally chosen to serve Potiphar?

 

After Joseph was put in charge, what then happened to Potiphar and his household?

 

Describe Joseph. What makes him a great servant of God?

 

Read Genesis 39:21-23. What does this say about God?

 

After the chief cupbearer and chief baker were tossed in prison, they each had a dream. When Joseph approached and they told him their dilemma of no one knowing the meaning of their dreams, what was Joseph’s response.

 

The tribe of Judah is the messianic line. How is Joseph used for a great purpose to help the Israelites, including this important line for the people of God? 

 

———————————————————

Genesis 42-50 JOSEPH & JACOB

Joseph doesn’t stand in line of Messiah yet more material is devoted to him than Isaac & Jacob

Reunited (42-45)

1st Trip to Egypt (42)

2nd Trip to Egypt (43-45)

Genesis 45:5 – You sold me / God sent me

Setting in Goshen (46-47)

3rd & Final Trip to Egypt (46:1-4) – entire Patriarchal family moved there to Goshen

Vision at Beersheba (46:1-4)

In Egypt (46:5-47:12)

Patriarchal Family grew from 12 to 70 (46:26-27) – fulfillment of promise to Abraham

Joseph during famine (47:13-31)

Leave the land of promise in order to enter a land of slavery

Deaths of Jacob & Joseph

Joseph blesses Ephraim & Manasseh (48:1-22)

Of all the Patriarchs, only Jacob got it right when it came to the first born not being first.

Reversal of the 1st born mentioned in Hebrews 11:21, Ephraim over Manasseh

Judah for rule

Joseph for Prosperity

Elevation of Joseph’s sons to full Israelite tribes (Levi did not get land / Joseph out) – 12 land tribes

Jacob blesses his sons (49:1-28): Hebrew Poetry in the Old Testament

Genesis 49:10 – The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.

Death & burial of Jacob (49:29-50:21)

Buried at cave of Machpelah with Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebekah, Leah (49:29-31)

Death of Joseph (50:22-26)

Read Genesis 42:37 & Genesis 43:3. In these passages, we have two different sons step up and volunteer to take responsibility. What is interesting about the two sons who stepped forward?

 

Read Genesis 44:11-15. Read Genesis 44:30-33. Joseph had the silver cup placed in Benjamin’s sack as a test. 

What was the test?

 

How has Judah changed since the episode with Tamar?

 

Read Genesis 45:4-7. When Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, he speaks about what God had done—how His plan prevailed. 

Joseph was used to save everyone, including his own family, from famine. Imagine how different things could have been if Joseph would have left his pride and unforgiveness get in the way.

 

Personal Reflection: Is something getting in the way of you being used by God? Is something keeping you from God’s work?

Check Yourself Outline

Check Yourself

Examine yourselvesto see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 [NIV]

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” – Lamentations 3:40-41 [ESV]

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test meand know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead mealong the path of everlasting life.” – Psalm 139:23-24 [NLT]

 

What do you see when you look at yourself?

What does everyone see when they look at you?

What does God see when He looks in your heart?

ARE YOU GLORIFYING GOD??

Matthew 23:25-26– “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence!You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cupand the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” [NLT]

Outer Appearance

What do people see when they see you?

  • Make up (powdered antimony) & Jewelry
    • Jeremiah 4:30“What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara?Your primping will do you no good!The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you.”– basically this passage says it doesn’t matter how much you try to cover up because you are still facing wrath
    • 1 Peter 3:3-4– “Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable (or unfading) beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
    • Make up isn’t bad. Just know if you are trying to cover up the outside blemishes but the inside is dirty, it doesn’t matter.
  • Tattoos
    • Leviticus 19:28 – “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the LORD.”– Pagan Idolatry was cutting self and tattooing self to worship dead people – they would honor and worship dead people as gods – God didn’t want them aligned to that kind of life in that culture
  • Attire
    • 1 Timothy 2:9 – “And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselvesby the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”
    • It’s not about drawing people to you – it’s about pointing to Jesus
    • Be mindful of your surroundings—are you trying to lead your brothers/sisters down a path of sin?
    • Why do you dress as you do?
  • Body Language – Are you welcoming? Inviting? Approachable?
  • Good Physical Shape 1 Timothy 4:8– Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. [NLT]

 

Do you appear fake or real / transparent / genuine?

(Does the outer show the inner?)

 

God has a different standard than us. When Samuel was looking for a man to succeed Saul as King of Israel, God said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart(1 Samuel 16:7).

Man places a high price on the outside but God examines deep within that man for something more. Man judges one on the basis of one’s appearance, but God examines the heart.

 

“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life”(Proverbs 4:23).

 

Inner Appearance – The Heart

Psalm 7:9b – For You look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God.

Proverbs 16:2All the ways of a man areclean in his own eyes; but the Lord weighs the spirit.  A man may justify his ways, but God will weigh his spirit.

  • Do you say one thing and do the other?
  • Do you care only when it is convenient?
  • What are your motives?
  • Are you just going through the motions?
  • Are you disconnected with people?
  • Do you really like people? Do you LOVE people?

 

What can cause some heart issues…

  1. Success – Success crowds our heart with things that tend to puff up our heart with pride causing us to say “look what I have done.”
  2. Selfishness– Selfishness shrinks our heart to where there is room for only three – me, myself, and mine. It becomes ugly and is unable to face life because it alienates the body of Christ, the needed life-support of others.
  3. Laziness– Laziness dries up the heart with inactivity and lack of service. The heart is like love– it functions to maximum capacity as it pumps out service to others.
  4. Sin– Sin hardens the heart to the things that really matter in life. The heart becomes hard as it is separated from its life source, God Himself.
  5. Stress– Stress breaks the heart by placing unnecessary demands on it. The heart crumbles under the pressure. It fails to recognize the power that has been made available to prevent anxiety. It wears down a person.

What do you see when you look at yourself?

Do you see a child of God? If you believe in Jesus, you are a child of God. That’s where your identity should be.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

What does everyone see when they look at you?

Do people see the real you? Do they see you in long robes like the Pharisee pretending to be better than everyone else, hiding your sin and pointing a judging finger? Do they see someone who sticks with their friends and wants nothing to do with anyone new or not in their “group”? Do they see someone who loves or someone who doesn’t show love?

What does God see when He looks in your heart?

You are a child of God, marked by the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit. You a co-heir with Christ.

If you believe in Jesus Christ, He paid for your sins and you are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.

He sees the real you—you cannot hide what’s in your heart. So if you fake you are something you are not to the others, remember that you cannot fake with God. He knows why you wear the clothes you do. He knows what you really think of other people when you give a fake smile. He knows if you really mean what you say. He sees more about you than you see. He knows you better than you know yourself. Ask Him to reveal anything you need to address.

 

ARE YOU GLORIFYING GOD??

Are you glorifying God with your life?

When people see you, do they see a reflection of Jesus or do they see someone who is talking the talk but not walking the walk?

Are you pointing people to Jesus or are you pointing to yourself?

Do you LOVE people? Do you truly LOVE people like Jesus commanded?

Remember, His love is not based on outside or inside appearance. His love is based on Who He is. It has nothing to do with you.

If you love like that, your love wouldn’t change from person to person. Your love wouldn’t stop when someone upsets you or doesn’t agree with you.

 

Take some time to check yourself…

 

“God, create a clean heart for me

and renew a steadfast spirit within me”

(Psalm 51:10)

Historical Landmarks Outline

Historical Landmarks 7-17-16

 

  • Landmark to remember what God has done – remembrance and praise

12 Memorial Stones from the Jordan River – Joshua 4 (READ 1-3, 21-24)

 

  • Landmark to meet God where He met you – return to the place you had a God encounter

Altar – Hebrew word “mizbeah” which means “to slaughter”, Greek word “thusiasterion” which means “a place of sacrifice.”

Altars are made with stone, earth, metal, and brick. The act of sacrifice moved the offering from profane to sacred.

The Temple had two altars, the Altar of Incense (gold-covered wood altar inside of the sanctuary in front of curtain at the Holy of Holies) and the Altar of Holocausts (bronze altar at the courtyard of the Temple). After the Exile, the first thing rebuilt was the altar.

 

People that built Altars:

  • Noah (Genesis 8:20) – after he exits ark, 1stthing does is build altar
  • Abraham(Genesis 12:6-9 MOREH) – Call of Abram, (13:18 HEBRON) – after Lot selects land and leaves then the Lord comes to remind
  • Isaac(Genesis 26:25) – God appears to him at Beersheba
  • Jacob– talk about later
  • Moses(Exodus 17:15 THE LORD IS MY BANNER) – defeat Amalekites and God comes to him and says He will erase their memory

 

Altars are:

A place of encounter & transformation – After Jacob steals Esau’s blessing and runs for his life… Jacob has a dream – the Lord met Jacob – he built an altar at that place using stone he slept on called BETHEL (Genesis 28). This was a place where the divine and human worlds interact. An altar experience brings change. Something must be altered at the altar – there’s a price to pay. There’s transformation when you encounter Jesus.

A place of confession & forgiveness –The altar of the Tabernacle sacrifice was offered as a sin offering, and one day there would be a once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

A place of worship & communion–The most common altar was the altar of incensewhere priests would offer worship to the Lord on behalf of the people and themselves. This was a place of communion between God and His servant.

A place of covenant –A covenant is a promise / it’s relationship terms or boundaries. An altar was built where the covenant was made between the Lord and Abraham, and the land was sealed as a timeless promise to Abraham and his offspring (Genesis 15).

A place of testimony– An altar is a place of testimony to the one true God. Abraham built his altars unto the Lord – there he called upon His Name (Genesis 12:7-8).

A place of intercession –The prophet Joel called for intercession by leaders on behalf of the people (Joel 1:13)

 

Today our altar is in our heart

  • 2 Corinthians 6:16 – We are temple of the living God

 

  • 1 Peter 2:5 – We are like living stones who offer spiritual sacrifices to God

 

It takes broken things to build an altar.

  • We can take the difficult things in life & arrange them before the Lord
  • We can drag them through life & be burdened
  • We can toss them at someone in anger.

What we are meant to do is allow the Spirit to alter us so we can pour our life out over the altar, presenting ourselves to the Lord.

Review time:

  1. Landmarks – remember what God has done. Remember. Praise Him.
  2. Landmarks – meet God where He met you – to return to your God encounters.

Remember: What God has done in the past is a model/promise of what He will do in the future BUT He is too creative to do the same thing in same way twice.

In less than two weeks, anniversary of DRCC. A landmark for DRCC. Some have been on the entire journey, some just recently joined along.

Remember what He has done.

Remember how He met you here.

  • If you’ve been here awhile and you cannot think of something He’s done here, and you cannot think of how He’s met you here—the issue is a heart issue. You can only be altered if you open your heart, if you soften your heart to allow the Spirit to freely move.
  • If you come here knowing all,
  • if you come here angry or bitter,
  • if you come here thinking you don’t need to be broken (that you are perfect),
  • if you come here without love for your brothers and sisters,
  • if you come here not open to hear the Word of God,
  • if you come here trying to shine for yourself—to be seen,
  • if you come here just to be entertained,
  • if you come here just for the food,
  • if you come here to point fingers at others,
  • if you come here with a personal agenda— your heart is hardened and you need to allow the God of the universe to break it.

When we have prayer time, get down on your knees and beg Him to break it.

Let us remember what He has done over the past few years.

Let us remember how He has met us all here.

  • We are not where we should be.
  • We aren’t even close to where we should be.
  • We have let Satan set up stumbling blocks.
  • We have closed ourselves off to the Truth.
  • We have fixed our eyes on other things.
  • We have only listened when it was convenient.
  • There are things we are meant to be doing, and we are not doing them.
  • We have our hands closed when they should be open.
  • We have ourselves busy with stuff that does not matter.
  • We allow the world to enter these doors.
  • We lose our focus often.
  • We allow Satan to cause strife between us and our brothers.
  • We do not always keep God first in our lives.

Now we will watch this special gift. The second gift I have for you—just not as sweet as Tim Tams. It’s a video of what God has done over the past three years. It’s a video that shows where God has met us.

Let us remember. Let us rejoice. Let us refocus ourselves.

He doesn’t want us to settle for good. He has greater things.

Let us rejoice at what He has done, and let us strive to allow Him to move in mighty ways these next three years.

He has so much for each one of us.

Are you ready?

Are you ready to let go?

Are you ready to be altered?

Are you ready to show up?

Are you ready to reach out?

Are you ready to allow God to use you? It is time.

Today is a landmark day at DRCC. Things will never be the same.

Tomorrow is a new day. God is doing something new.

Join together my brothers and sisters. It is time.

Amen.

Gone Fishing Outline

Gone Fishing – 6/19/16

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:16-20[The Great Commission]

Before we can make disciples, we need to GO FISHING!

Mathew 4:19– Fishers for men – “catching men alive”

2 Timothy 2:26– we catch men alive or the devil will

 

1 Peter 3:15– Reason / Hope / Prepared to Make a Defense – CHRIST LORD

Are you prepared?

Jesus Came (1 Peter 1:20-21) / Died (1 Peter 2:24) / Rose(1 Peter 1:3)/ He Reigns(1 Peter 3:22)/ He Returns(1 Peter 1:13)/ We are Always with God – in His Presence(1 Peter 3:18) / All things working for good (1 Peter 1:7)

 

 

Good fishermen focus on the entire body of water, not just one fish(ex: my crappy experience) – NO LIMITATIONS

1 Timothy 2:3-4– desires all to be saved

Matthew 7:6– Don’t throw pearls to the swine

 

Good fisherman is patient– sometimes people respond, sometimes they do not – BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Acts 2:40– with many other words Peter shared the Truth

Philippians 2:14-16, Matthew 5:13-16– we are shining examples

Good fisherman has good instincts– sensitive to leading of the Holy Spirit / to God’s timing AWARENESS OF GOD

Colossians 4:3– Pray for God to open doors

1 Thessalonians 1:5– Not only words, but Power

 

Good fisherman has good skills– APPROACH OF PEOPLE

  • Knows the right bait for the right fish (again RELATIONSHIP)

Share the Gospel, not the Bible – you don’t have to try to shove it all in there.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5– Just 10 words necessary – CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD.

  • Knowshow & when to cast line (again RELATIONSHIP)

Rather than, “are you a Christian,” instead “has anyone shown you in the Bible about how to know if you are going to heaven”

Overcomplicating what it means to believe. We have catch phrases:

  • Come to God
  • Invite Jesus into your heart
  • Give your life to Jesus
  • Accept Jesus

In Gospel of John, he uses the word “believe” 98 times. This means that we understand & accept that Jesus died for you and rose on the third day, and that the only way for me to get to heaven is trusting in Jesus Christ alone.

It’s simple– Trust that Jesus alone is the only way to heaven

  • Knows what they are fishing for (ex: Richard and the puffer fish)

Gospel of John is written for non-Christians (John 20:31).

 

Good fisherman knows how to work together

Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1– when Jesus sent disciples out, He did it by twos

Romans 12:16– We need to work in harmony together

Galatians 3:26-28– It’s all about unity

 

Good fisherman recognizes God provides

John 6:44– says only the Father can draw a person to Jesus Christ. He brings people to Christ.

Luke 5:1-11– Peter already knew Jesus was extraordinary. Peter already received his new name (John 1:40-42). Peter already saw Jesus heal his mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39). Peter was already grappling with Jesus’ call on his life. One thing Peter knew was how to fish. But after a night of no fish, Jesus man-fished Peter.

Luke 5:4– “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Peter didn’t refuse; however, his expectations were low. Still, he obeyed.

Luke 5:5– “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:8– Peter felt conviction for his sin of disbelief when the big catch was made. He said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” All Peter did was net the fish – Jesus brought the fish.

Peter now thought much less of himself and much more of Jesus – that’s being ready to fish!!

Less self – more Jesus!

Luke 5:10– “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

We are called in our weakness. Peter’s nets were empty and he was exhausted after night of no fish. He needed to see that he could do nothing apart from Jesus. He needed to understand Who rules the fish and who fills the nets

John 15:5– Apart from Me you can do nothing

Jesus provides the fish– We must depend on God

 

What can we do?

Listen to Jesus

Read His Word

            Pray

Communicate with God, listen for the Holy Spirit

Faithfully drop the nets

Obey the Father’s commands

Let Him fill them

Don’t get in the way of the process.

We plant seeds of His Word – He grows

Remember the fish are His!

It is a blessing to be used as a vessel but the fish are His

We are helping to build His Kingdom – not our own

It is all about Jesus

 

 

 

 

Repentance and Renewal Outline

Early Church determined the Lenten season was period of fasting and renewal that corresponds with Jesus fasting (Matthew 4:2).

Forty days back from Easter minus Sundays = Lent.

Once Lent primarily viewed as period during which converts prepared for baptism on Easter Sunday but later became a season of repentance and renewal for all Christians.

 

Season of Lent involves repentance, and renewal

Time to open hearts which have grown calloused (hardened) thorough selfishness and pride – doing things our way, not walking with God as closely as designed.

  • Spiritually dull
  • Self-absorbed

John Piper reminds us, “If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.”

We practice overindulgence in things that keep us from hungering after God, drowning ourselves in things that take us away from God.

 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”– Psalm 51:10 [ESV]

Symbolism of Ashes

 

We are but dust and to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 3:20, Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Dust needs God to have life. Dust cannot boast. Dust is nothing without the crucified & risen Christ.

  • Frailty or Death (Genesis 18:27)
  • Sadness or Mourning (Esther 4:3)
  • Judgment (Lamentations 3:16)
  • Repentance (Jonah 3:6)

Imposition of Ashes

 

  • Opportunity to reaffirm our baptism
  • Opportunity to testify to God’s electing love, which claims us and marks us as His own.

Paul tells us that we have been buried with Christ through baptism, so that we may live with Christ in glory (Romans 6:1-11)

Ashes reminds us of burial, death of old self which makes possible the new life.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – You are not your own; you have been bought at a price

When you fast (stop doing something), don’t just fast from something, but replace that something with something beneficial to your relationship with Jesus.

Give up complaining, give up negative talk…. Give up whatever is getting in the way of you and Jesus….

For the Lenten season, we shall join Jesus Christ on a Pilgrimage.

This season focuses closely on the Passion of Christ.

The Latin meaning of Passion is “suffer.”

The Passion of Christ includes His entrance to Jerusalem, the Last Supper, His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His arrest, His trial, His crucifixion on Mount Calvary.

The Passion was directed by the will of God, the life mission of Jesus was the Cross (John 12:27 – The very reason He came).

The Passion originated in love.

As we examine the Passion, we note that Jesus lived in dependence on the presence of God.

This Lenten season, as we start this Pilgrimage, may we remember our dependence on God, and live a life in His presence.

To be continually living in His presence means to walk in His will, to be in constant prayer, to have His Word in your heart and mind, to worship uninhibited.