Sunday Service Follow Up – 12.17

God is not just saving by this King, He is saving for this King.

 

Last Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, we continued our series in the Gospel of Matthew. This week we saw how Christ is the King who is the Savior of all peoples that he might be worshiped by all peoples.

 

Below you will find discussion questions that you can work through individually, as a family, or with other believers.

 

Discussion Questions:

 

Read Matthew 2.1-12 and consider the questions below.

 

1. What do you observe in this passage that is especially important or meaningful?
2. In your own words, what does this passage mean?  i.e, why is it here in our bibles?
3. Tab highlighted the reality of the nations being represented by these gentiles – such that God saves from all peoples by his grace.  How might that shape your view of God and / or yourself right now?
4. Tab also highlighted the worship of these magi.  In what ways would you like this King born at Christmas to help you have your life be more about Him than yourself?  Please explain.

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What’s Your Plan?

As we approach the beginning of another year, it’s the perfect time to consider your plan for reading the bible in 2018. Whether you plan to read through the bible in a year (or two) or spend time in a specific portion of the bible, it’s important to have a plan for intentionally pursuing communion with God in his word.

For 2018, I don’t intend to read through the entire bible, but instead I plan on spending a significant amount of time in Isaiah 40-66 – reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the splendor of this portion of scripture. I’ve spent the last three months working through the Sermon on the Mount and really enjoyed spending an extended period of time in the same part of the bible. Perhaps this might be how you plan to spend time in God’s word over the next year?

Whatever your plan, keep in mind that we don’t read the bible to earn God’s favor – his love for you isn’t dependent on your bible reading – but we read the bible to place ourselves in a position where the Holy Spirit will meet, nourish, transform, and empowers us.

So what’s your plan?

If you’re not sure check out the different bible reading plans below and choose the one that seems like it will work best for you.

5 Day Reading Plan

Read through the whole bible or just the New Testament in one year while reading only five times per week.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Change Your Mind Reading Plan

Follow these four steps to change your mind and transform your worldview:

1. Choose a book of the bible.

2. Read it in its entirety.

3. Repeat step #2 twenty times.

4. Repeat this process for all books of the bible.

Duration: Ongoing | Download: Article

Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Read through the bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Denny Burk Reading Plan

This plan calls for reading all the books of the bible in canonical order in one year. Each day’s reading is about 3-4 chapters in length. There are 7 “catch-up” days scattered throughout the calendar.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

Four daily readings beginning in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts.

Duration: One year | DownloadPDF

ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan

Four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Historical Bible Reading Plan

The Old Testament readings are similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament readings are an attempt to follow the order in which the books were authored.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

The Legacy Reading Plan

This plan does not have set readings for each day. Instead, it has set books for each month, and set number of Proverbs and Psalms to read each week. It aims to give you more flexibility, while grounding you in specific books of the bible each month.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the OT History and Prophetic books about one and a half times.

Duration: Ongoing | Download: PDF

Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

Read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once.

Duration: One or two years | Download: Website or D.A. Carson Plan

Straight Through the Bible Reading Plan

Read straight through the bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Two-Year Bible Reading Plan

Read the Old and New Testaments once, and Psalms & Proverbs four times.

Duration: Two years | Download: PDF

Sunday Service Follow Up – 12.10

Jesus is God with us that he might save us from our sins.

Last Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, we continued our series in the Gospel of Matthew. This week we looked at the names given to Christ. In a dream, the angel of the Lord told Joseph, the father of Jesus, that Mary “will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1.21). In this name we see Jesus’s mission – he will save his people from their sins.

But this isn’t the only name given to Jesus. In verse 23, Matthew gives us his prophetic interpretation of this event. Jesus’s birth, Matthew notes, is the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy given to us in Isaiah 7, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which means, God with us” (Mt. 1.22-23).

Jesus is God with us that he might save us from our sins. During this Advent season, may this truth move us to awe and wonder as we pause to reflect who Christ is and what he has done for us.

Below you will find discussion questions that you can work through individually, as a family, or with other believers. Be sure to check out Tab’s quote from Augustine following the questions.

Discussion Questions:

Read Matthew 1.18-25 and consider the questions below.

1.  What do you observe in this passage?  i.e., what strikes you as important for us to notice?
2.  How would you sum up the meaning of this passage in your own words?
3.  Tab talked about having an awe-filled faith in response to what we see here.  How would you like to grow in awe and wonder at the truths we see in this passage?
4.  How can we help pursue a greater awe and wonder, leading to worship, in response to these truths around Christmas?

Quote:

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;

that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.

– Augustine

Sunday Service Follow Up – 12.03

Last Sunday, we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent and began our 4-week series, For Unto Us a Child is Born. From Matthew 1.1-17 we surveyed Jesus’s genealogy, specifically how Matthew shows us that He is “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” These two truths would have been very significant to the original readers of Matthew’s gospel and should be in our lives as well. Below you will find discussion questions that you can work through individually, as a family, or with other believers. Be sure to check out Tab’s quote from Calvin following the questions.

Discussion Questions:

Read Matthew 1.1-17 and consider the questions below.

1. In your own words, what is the main point of this passage?
2. What is the significance of Jesus being the “son of David”? How does this reality of the kingdom of God bring you hope for your life personally? Please explain.
3. What is the significance of Jesus being the “son of Abraham”? How do you see Matthew highlighting that here?
4. From this passage, what do you want to believe this Christmas about Jesus even more? Why?

Quote:

“Let us also remember that we are all in the same condition as Abraham. Our circumstances are all in opposition to the promises of God: He promises us immortality; we are surrounded by mortality and corruption. He declares that he counts us just; yet we are covered with sins. He testifies that he is propitious and kind to us; yet outward signs threaten his wrath. What then are we to do? We must close our eyes, disregard ourselves and all things connected with us, that nothing may hinder or prevent us from believing that God is true.” – Calvin

THE WHAT, WHY AND HOW OF ADVENT

As our modern American calendars flip to their final page noting the ending of another year, the Christian calendar is already starting its “New Year” Celebration in the season of Advent. The church’s calendar begins here because it parallels and narrates the life of Christ: birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and time of filling the church with the Spirit. As one person writes, “Time here revolves around the person of Jesus.” The church year is meant to be an extended commemoration of the gospel.
 
Traditionally, the season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, this year beginning on December 3rd. As we prepare to enter this Advent Season I want to highlight the what, why and how of Advent.
 
WHAT IS ADVENT?
 
Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus which means “coming.” Historically, this has been a time when the church both looks backwards and forward to the two advents – or comings – of Christ.
 
As the church begins its new year, it looks backwards to the first coming of Christ in the incarnation. In this season, the church remembers what it was like for the people of God who were longing for the birth of the Messiah – the promised seed of the woman (Gen 3.15), offspring of Abraham (Gen 12.1-3), and true son of David (2 Sam 7).
 
But this is also a time when the church looks forward. Christ has come, yet not all things have reached completion – we are still a people who are waiting for the ultimate fulfillment of all of God’s promises. In Advent, we confess that the infant who drew his first breath on Christmas day has yet to speak his final word.
 
As you may have noticed there is a tension in this celebration. We look back remembering Israel’s waiting and longing. We give thanks for Christ’s birth which brought the initial fulfillment of God’s promises. But we also remember that we too are a people who are waiting and longing, perhaps with a bit of holy impatience – as we cry out Maranatha! – eagerly anticipating the second coming of Christ.
 
WHY CELEBRATE ADVENT?
 
While there are many reasons to celebrate Advent I want to highlight two reasons to celebrate Advent this year.
 
Advent increases our anticipation and longing for Christ’s return.
 
First, Advent is meant to increase our longing for Christ’s return. As Christians, we’re waiting for more than just Christmas morning, we’re waiting for the return of Christ. The day when he comes in glory and everything sad is going to come untrue.[i]
 
In a world that is filled with constant reminders that things are not yet as they should be, we are aware that there is a brokenness in our world and in our lives that no cart full of Black Friday bargains can fix, our anticipation for Christ’s second coming should grow.[ii]
 
Jesus, the one who was and who is and who is to come (Rev. 1.8), will return and when he comes at the end of the ages he will make all things new (Rev. 21.5).
 
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21.3-4)
 
Our prayer in Advent is the concluding prayer of the Bible as we cry out Maranatha, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’
 
Advent fortifies our confidence in the promises of God.
 
Secondly, as our longing for Christ’s return grows, Advent reassures us that this longing is not in vain. We’re not looking forward to something that we simply hope might happen. In looking back to the fulfillment of God’s promises in Christ’s first coming, we’re reassured that He will come again.
 
Advent reminds us of God’s past faithfulness and strengthens our confidence that he will keep all of his present and future promises to us (2 Cor. 1.20).
 
HOW TO CELEBRATE ADVENT?
 
In God’s grace, there are many great resources to help you and your family enter into this meaningful season as you look backwards and forwards this Advent.  

Jesse Tree – This is one of our favorite family traditions and a great way to include all your kids, especially the little ones. Link includes the clip art to create our own ornaments as well as some other Advent resources.
Prepare Him Room – Another great family resource, especially for those with little kids, has lots of fun activities.
Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional – A new Advent devotional by Paul Tripp that will help you slow down, prepare your heart, and focus on what matters most during this season: adoring our Savior, Jesus.
8 New Resources – recent blog post on The Gospel Coalition that highlights 8 new Advent Resources which includes books, devotionals, music and more!
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy  & Good News of Great Joy – two eBooks by John Piper with daily Advent meditations which aim to keep Jesus at the center of your holiday season

___________________________ 
[i] Sam Gamgee to Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings (chapter 4, Book Six)
[ii] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-celebrate-advent/

Sermon Questions

This past Sunday we continued our series on the Five Solas of the Reformation looking at Faith Alone.

1. READ Gal 2.11-16.  How would you summarize the main point of this passage?
2.  Now read Romans 4.2-8 and 2 Cor. 5.21.  Where does Paul ground the nature and ground of our justification? How is seeing that helpful for you?
3.  Why is it so important for you to know that you are justified by faith alone?
4.  How does justification by faith alone impact how you relate to God? How does it impact your assurance before God?
5. How does justification by faith alone impact how you relate to others? How do you need this identity before others?