Monday, January 31, 2011

Discussion Questions from January 30th, 2011 Sermon(s)

Yesterday morning and evening we had the unique privilege of focusing on the Lord' Supper during both services. We observed the ordinance during the evening service, but focused on it throughout the day. The text was Luke 22:14-27. Below I will ask some questions based off of the morning message (Luke 22:14-20) and I will post the evaluation questions I issued last night just before observing the Lord's Supper from Luke 22:21-27. Later today, you should be able to watch/listen to the messages here.

1. Bro. Matt mentioned 5 reasons given in the text as to why Jesus was so excited (see Luke 22:15) about sharing the 'Pre-Cross Passover' with His disciples. Which of the 5 reasons was the most important, in your opinion? Why?

2. Which of the five reasons most surprised you? Why?

3. Which of the five reasons was the most difficult to understand? Why?

4. What is the difference between the new covenant and the old covenant? See Jeremiah 31:31-34.

5. How often do you believe a church should celebrate the Lord's Supper?

6. What is one way the Lord's Supper protects the church body (and individual Christians!)?

7. Do you believe participating in the Lord's Supper should be a requirement for members of a church body? Why do you answer that way?

Evaluation Questions:

Evaluation Question #1: Are you currently living in a way that would betray the reality or the validity of Christ Jesus as Lord?
[See verses 21-23]

Evaluation Question #2: How quickly did your mind go to someone else when I posed question #1, rather than first evaluating yourself fully?
[Are you currently considering yourself better or more important than others?]

[See verses 24-26a]

Evaluation Question #3: Is your life marked by serving those you are church members with? [See verses 26b-27]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Discussion Questions from January 23rd, 2011 Sermon

Yesterday I preached from Luke 22:1-13 during the morning service(s). The title of the message was "Supper, Satan, and Sovereignty." You can watch or listen to the message here.

Below are some discussion questions to further aid in your understanding/application:

1. Why did Bro. Matt title the sermon "Supper, Satan, and Sovereignty"? How do the verses break down to separate into these three words?

2. How does Luke connect the Passover with Jesus?

3. Why do you think Satan entered Judas during this particular time?

4. Do you think Judas had a choice as to whether or not Satan would enter him? [Explain your answer by using biblical texts]

5. What are some ways Luke goes to great lengths to remind us of Jesus' authority over the situation?

6. What does the fact that Judas walked with Jesus for 3 years tell us about real and false Christianity? How do you know if you are an authentic follower of Jesus?

7. How is it a comfort that Satan is "God's Satan"?

8. Why did God ordain and plan and accomplish the slaughter of His Son? Did Jesus die willingly? Why/How is this good news?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Resources Used for the Minor Prophets Series on Sunday Nights

I am using several resources for the Sunday Night series on the Minor Prophets. Below is a list of the primary resources used thus far:

The Christ of the Prophets by O. Palmer Robertson

Discussion Questions from January 16th, 2011 PM Sermon

Last night, at WBC, I was back in the "Not So Minor Minor Prophets Series" that I began early Fall 2010.

After having only preached on the book of Hosea, I proceeded with an overview of Joel in last night's message. It can be viewed or listened to here.

I provided an extensive outline of the book and for the message preached that can be found here as well.

Some questions to help you further think through Joel are:

1. What does Joel's name mean? Why is that significant for his task to the people of God?

2. Why did God send locusts AND the army of Assyria to attack the people/land of His people?

3. Read Joel. What are some specific ways God calls His people to repent? In other words, what does He want them to do to demonstrate repentance?

4. How does Joel's prophecy reveal Jesus: our need of Him and His provision for us?

5. What does Joel mean by the "Day of the Lord"? Who and how can endure the ''Day of the Lord"?

6. Bro. Matt mentioned 5 realities about God that Joel reveals. Which of the five speaks to you the most? Why?

Discussion Questions from January 16th, 2011 AM Sermon

Yesterday morning I finished up the 3-part series called "Staying Saved in 2011" from Luke 21:5-38. You can watch or listen to the message here.

In the three messages, I offered 8 Actions for the believer to take in order to endure until the day of Christ's return. They are:

1. Replace temporal affections with eternal perspectives (vs. 5-6).

2. Aggressively and intentionally grow in your knowledge of and affections for Christ Jesus (vs.

3. Assume that the world will continue in chaos and go from bad to worse (vs. 9-11).

4. Make a habit of intentionally putting yourself in a position where you are desperate for God to
bail you out (vs. 12-18).

5. Guard yourself from loving God-ordained institutions more than God Himself (vs. 16-24).

6. Evaluate where your ultimate hope lies and deliberately change course toward confident hope
in final redemption (vs. 25-33).

7. Intentionally immerse yourself in the eternal Words of God (vs. 33, 37-38).

8. Know yourself and aggressively, with discipline, position yourself to be walking in obedience
when Christ returns (vs. 34-36).

Some questions related to these:

1. Which of the 8 Actions mentioned do you most need to work on?

2. What will you intentionally and practically begin doing now?

3. Reread Luke 21:5-38. Why should believers be so diligent to pursue these actions? (List as many reasons as you can from the text).

4. Why is Luke 21 a gift to the church?

5. Read Matthew 24. What are the similarities between Matthew and Luke? What are the differences?

6. If you were to teach Luke 21:5-38, how would you teach it to a new believer? How might you teach this material at your family devotion time?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Discussion Questions from January 9th, 2011 Sermon

The second sermon of the year for WBC was part 2 of "Staying Saved in 2011" from Luke 21:5-38. You can watch or listen to the message here.

So far, I have talked through six actions followers of Jesus can (must!) take in order to be ready for the Second Coming of Christ and to endure to the end.

They are:

1. Replace temporal affections with eternal perspectives (vs. 5-6).
2. Aggressively and intentionally grow in your knowledge of and affections for Christ Jesus (vs.

3. Assume that the world will continue in chaos and go from bad to worse (vs. 9-11).
4. Make a habit of intentionally putting yourself in a position where you are desperate for God

to bail you out (vs. 12-18).
5. Guard yourself from loving God-ordained institutions more than God Himself (vs. 16-24).
6. Evaluate where your ultimate hope lies and deliberately change course toward confident

hope in final redemption (vs. 25-33).

My plan is to offer you two more from the text this Sunday morning (God willing!).

Here are some discussion questions based on this Sunday's message:

1. Why did God arrange it to be very difficult for Christians here on earth the closer it gets to Jesus' return? In other words, if God is sovereign over all things, why not make it easier on earth for His children?

2. What did Bro. Matt mean by running the risk of loving God-ordained institutions more than God Himself?

3. How might someone be guitly (practically speaking) of loving God-ordained institutions more than loving God?

4. Bro. Matt suggested that everyone evaluate their hearts to see where his/her ultimate hope lies. Have you done that?

[Suggestion: Ask yourself questions such as, "Why do I go to work?" Or "Why do I come home from the office?" Or, "Why do I get up when I get up in the morning?" Or, "Why do I go to church?" Keep tracing down the answers until you get to the bottom of your heart.

An Example:

Why do I go to work? To make money.

Why do I want to make money? To pay the bills.

What kind of bills to have to pay for? Car. House. Boat. Kids. Clothes. Food. Insurance. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Why do I want these things?

Could God have me at my job for another purpose?

And so on and so on....

*The purpose is to ask yourself very personal and pointed questions to get at the floor of your heart and your motives and intentions and purposes for why you do what you do.

5. If your ultimate hope is not in Jesus, what is likely to happen to you when the world begins to come to an end?

6. What's going on in your heart if your ultimate hope and expectation in life is to see and know and obey and follow Jesus?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Disobedience and "Pesky" Consequences

This morning in my trek through the Bible (I am currently using the "Shirkers and the Slackers" plan) I read Joshua 15-17.

I started at the beginning of December so I would have plenty of 'random' days to use and still stay on task (really, cause I know myself and I do not have a good track record!).

To be honest, there were several times I thought to myself "blah, blah, blah, blah" as I read through the land allotments for Judah and Ephraim and Manasseh. I know that is very irreverent to say. I know that having all this land given to the 12 tribes is a demonstration of the faithfulness and power and grace of God. But, honestly, it was difficult for me to read through all of these places that I really don't know where they are all located.

But a couple of verses caught my attention and I was quickly reminded of the importance to read it ALL. At the end of Joshua 15, I read this: "But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day." (15:63) And at the end of Joshua 16, I read: "However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor." (16:10)

All of these lands came under the possession of the Israelites, but the Jebusites and the Canaanites of Gezer. Are you kidding me? The gods of the Jebusites or the Canaanites are in no way bigger or stronger or more powerful than the God of Judah.

So, why these other 'pesky' peoples a part of the tribes of Israel?

The ESV Study Bible notes were very helpful this morning:

"This is not the first instance of failure to occupy (13:13), and it will not be the last. In 17:12 the Manassites are unable to occupy certain towns because 'the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.' In 17:16 the Ephraimites cite Canaanite possession of 'chariots of iron' as preventing them from taking the plains. These statements seem to be in tension with the dominant theological conviction of the book of Joshua that the 'hand of the LORD is mighty' (4:24) and with the divine promise to the leader Joshua that 'No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life...You shall cause this people to inherit the land' (1:5-6). Joshua himself seems to agree with this assessment, insisting in 17:18 that 'you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.' Perhaps statements of what Israel 'could not' do are to be read as early evidence of spiritual slippage-of failure to follow the Lord 'wholly' (see 14:8)-which will become increasingly evident in the book of Judges."

(emphasis added)

Israel 'could not' capture the Jebbies and the Cannies, not because the Lord wasn't strong enough, but because there were areas where they had slipped from following the Lord. Was this 'life threatening' to the nation? I guess you could make a case for it, but not really. Would God, by His overflowing abundant grace, come through for them in the end? You betcha. But would it have not gone alot smoother and easier and with much more peace without the pesky Jebusites and Canaanites hanging around? Little slips add up and cause hindrances to your life. Neglecting little areas of obedience breed little areas of frustration. Little areas of frustration breed bigger areas of frustration. Before long, the frustration snow balls into a disconnect from God.

Does God forgive sin? Hallelujah, yes.

Did the cross cover every sin I will ever commit against God? For sure (again, hallelujah).

But are there consequences to disobeying God? Absolutely. Pesky consequences. Consequences that make life harder and more frustrating and more difficult. Consequences that add stress and tension. Consequences that could have been avoided had there been obedience in the small things.

Are there 'pesky' areas in your life that are results from disobeying God in the small things? Maybe you haven't been able to 'conquer' them, not because God is not big enough to do it, but because you haven't trusted Him in obedience in other areas?

Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Discussion Questions from January 2nd, 2011 Sermon

Yesterday morning, after taking two months to focus on other topics, I was back in Luke's Gospel. I read Luke 21:5-38, with the plan of taking three Sundays (January 2nd, 9th, and 16th) to walk through it.

As of right now, my plan is to finish Luke's Gospel on May 29th, 2011. We'll see!

Being that yesterday was the second day of the new year, my focus was on what Jesus said in Luke 21:19: "By your endurance, you will gain your lives." According to Jesus, those who endure to the end will be saved (see also Matthew 24:13). So, those who are genuinely saved, thus, genuinely born again by the Spirit of God, will endure to the end. Being saved is not just for those who think they can coast. It takes blood, sweat, and tears to endure to the end. So, my aim was to look at what Jesus said regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and His own 2nd coming still yet to occur, and give some actions believers can take in 2011 to 'remain saved' throughout 2011.

Later today, you can watch or listen to the sermon here.

Here some additional questions to help you process/apply the message:

1. Do you agree with Bro. Matt that Jesus was speaking of both the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 AND His own 2nd coming in these verses? Why or why not?

2. In what ways do you need to replace affections for temporary things with that which will last forever? How much have you given to the Lottie Moon Offering this year? Could you still give more? If not, why not?

3. Bro. Matt mentioned several ways to aggressively and intentionally grow in the knowledge of and affections for Jesus:

1.) Read the Gospels over and over and over.

2.) Pray for God to protect you from error and to help you grow in knowing and following the biblical Jesus.
3.) Read sections of solid theology books that focus on the Person of Christ.
4.) Have family devotions and let your children ask you questions.
5.) Memorize portions of Scripture that describe Jesus.
6.) Make every effort to be here as we wrap up Luke’s Gospel.

Which of these can you immediately put into practice in your life?

4. How can assuming that the world will continue in chaos and move from bad to worse actually benefit a Christ-follower?

5. What is at least one action you can take in 2011 that puts all the pressure on God to show up and help you follow-through on?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Books Referenced During January 2nd, 2011 Sermon

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem

One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda

More Bible Reading Plans

Justin Taylor has a wonderful description of tons of Bible reading plans here.

He states,

"There are lots of ways to read the Bible in a year, and I won’t try to capture all of them. But here are numerous options, in no particular order. You may want to look through it and see what you think would work best for you."