Last week we spent some time exploring the central place Jesus holds in the Bible, a place that illustrates for us the place that he should have within our lives. This lesson will consider the New Testament’s emphasis on Christlikeness, the expectation that Christians think and act like Jesus; an expectation so foundational to Christians’ identities that it even forms their name – Christ-ian.
The kingdom, the covenant, and the kings, Exodus 19:5-6 We began last week by exploring the beginning of the Bible’s story in which we encounter God’s purposes for humanity, humanity’s rebellion, and God’s promise to resolve their rebellion. This lesson continues our survey of the Bible’s history leading up to Jesus by considering Israel’s story from its beginning to its captivity, which introduces God’s chosen people and the law and kings He gave to them.
Jesus made a number of bold claims about his relationship to the Old Testament, asserting that all of its contents revolved around him. But he also made promises to his disciples that contain equally bold assumptions about his connection to the New Testament. Given the nature of Jesus’ claims, we will consider his relationship to the Bible to help us better understand his place in its pages and, therefore, within our lives.
We will begin by considering the beginning of the Bible’s story, moving from the creation to the introduction of Abraham. That narrative section of the Bible introduces God’s purposes for the creation, the sin problem that frustrated His intentions, and His promise to restore His creational purposes, a promise that would eventually find fulfillment in Jesus
Matthew 27: 45-54
PM Sermon: Thanks to All Scripture Romans 12:3-8 In 1624, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, Entire of itself.” He was merely echoing what Paul had written centuries earlier about Christians, “We, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” As we go through life, we are taught, helped, encouraged and nurtured in manifold ways by uncountable numbers of people. Some make a great impact and others only a small one, but they all contribute to who we are and what we can do in the kingdom. It pays to pause and be thankful for each one of them.
Scripture: John 14:19-24 It is important that churches consistently ask the question, “Is it biblical?” We might not always get the answer right, but it’s certain that we won’t find the answers if we don’t ask this critical question. God gave Old Testament Israel the unique blessing of having his word in writing. In times of unfaithfulness, they forgot that they even had God’s written word. That wouldn’t have happened if they had been asking if the things they were doing were biblical.
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 If the crucifixion unlocks the door of the gospel, even the unlocked door would have remained closed without the resurrection, and much of the biblical story would be meaningless. Old Testament prophecies and New Testament preaching give great prominence to the resurrection. The crucifixion was a powerful and necessary event, but alone, it left the disciples frustrated and afraid. Even before the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2, the disciples had been transformed by the resurrection of Jesus.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 We often think only of our vertical relationship with God when we think of the purpose of “worship services.” By the very fact that whatever we do in these assembles we do together, fellowship becomes a part of it. The church is a distinct community, and this distinctiveness shows when we come together. The church is a loving community, and the loves shows best when we are together. Each “act” of worship is an expression of community, and sometimes the horizontal element is more obvious than the vertical.
Scripture: John 19:14-19 The crucifixion of Christ is a powerful story; a disturbing story; a glorious story. He came to save us by dying for us. At every turn, men opposed him, but in their opposition, they aided his cause. Today, great efforts are made to make sure that punishments and executions are quick and painless. The crucifixion of Jesus was drawn out as long as possible and planned to be as painful as possible. The total ugliness of Christ’s death declares the horrible ugliness of our sins. When we face the horror of the cross we can better appreciate the depth of God’s love for us.
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-12 Christ is the center of the gospel, but that in no way makes the church unimportant or optional. Fellowship is a word frequently used to describe the special bond that exists between us, God and each other. The Greek word translated “fellowship” (koinonia) refers to what it is that we have in common that makes the church a special community. The idea of community suggests the closeness of relationships and the life of many members acting in community, rather than the simple faithfulness of an individual Christian.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 Is being a “new creation” a metaphor, or is it a literal reality? Whichever it is, it is the result of the death and resurrection of Jesus. On the cross, Jesus dealt with our sin problem and gave us an eternal hope. Oddly, Paul doesn’t deny that the troubled Corinthian church was made up of “new creation” people, but he encourages them to have a better grasp on what it means to be reconciled to God. He doesn’t call us to be good enough to become a new creation, but calls us to live out the new life that God has granted to those who die with Christ in baptism, and rise with him to live a new, forgiven life.
Scripture: Matthew 18:15-20 Sometimes we have a passage of Scripture all wrong. In Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus taught us how to encourage repentance and seek reconciliation when a brother (or sister) has sinned against us. He was not teaching about “church discipline” or disfellowship. He calls for unexpected, and unpleasant, action when attempts to reconcile fail. On both points, traditional explanations of this passage miss the mark.
James 5:11 One can easily and quickly point to things in the Bible that seem to contradict James’ assertion that God’s purposes are “compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). This lesson will consider the larger Biblical story and explore how it reveals God’s compassion and mercy and how the things it reveals should fine expression within our lives.
Scripture: Matthew 6:19-24 We can claim that our “heart” is in heaven, but our treasure might tell a different story. The Bible helps us identify what qualifies as real treasure. If we have fake treasure, we have reason to be concerned, and we will have eternal regrets. Real treasure is a more about faith than sight.
AM Sermon: Joy, Gentleness & Peace Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9 Philippians is not a textbook on theology, but an inspired apostle writing a letter to help “dear brethren” learn to enjoy God’s blessings to the fullest. Christians are challenged to rise above the troubles of this earth and rejoice in the Lord who has better things planned. We don’t “have it all together,” but we have tools that only God’s people have. Our troubles are temporary, but our joy is eternal.
Numbers 6: 24-26
Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But other passages explicitly and implicitly call us to make judgments of people and of actions (e.g., right or wrong, sin or not sin). How are we to “judge” when it is good to judge and when it is not? Do purpose and intent make a difference? Acts 3:13 Acts 4:19 Acts 13:27 Acts 26:8 Luke 6:37 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 Galatians 6:1-5 Matthew 23:4
Scripture: Philippians 3:12-16 For as long as we live on earth, we will struggle to see how much better is the greatness of heaven than the attractions of earth. Paul’s accomplishments as a young Jewish man were impressive, and were not evil things, but they couldn’t match the reward that God had reserved for him in heaven. So Paul pressed on – reached forward – and pressed toward the prize of the upward call of God. He was (as are all Christians) a citizen of heaven living as a foreigner on earth. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Philippians 3:4-6 Philippians 3:7-11 Philippians 3:20 Philippians 3:21