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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Creation and Commission of Woman--Revisited (Gen. 2:18-25)

Creation and Commission of Woman--Revisited (Gen. 2:18-25)      

Summary: In the marriage covenant, a woman is to see herself as the glory of her husband and the man is to see his wife as a wonderful gift from God, a uniquely fit companion in the weighty and awesome work God has given them to do.  In the home, a man is given the primary responsibility to lead, protect, and provide for his wife and his wife is given an indispensable role of supporting her husband in their shared work of kingdom advancement. 

Main Point: God wants us to know that the work of filling the earth with his image is no small task
therefore he graciously provided a uniquely fit helper to assist the man.

Discussion Questions:
  • Why is it not good for man to be alone?
  • According to Gen. 2, what are the unique roles God has designed for men and women?
  • Is the term "helper" a degrading term? Why or why not?
  • What was the point of including the naming of animals in 2:19-20?
  • How should God's special creation of the woman in 2:20-23 shape the way that a wife views her relationship to her husband? 
  • What do we learn about God's original design for marriage in v.24?  How serious did Jesus take this truth in Matt. 19:3-9?  What can we learn from Jesus' view of marriage in our day?
  • How does a godly Christian marriage display the gospel? READ Ephesians 5:22-33
Application Questions:
  • What are the sweet gospel benefits of being the Bride of Christ?  How does Christ, our loving Husband, care for us as a church according to Ephesians 5:29-30? 
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for sending his Son to lay down his life for his Bride, the Church.
  • Praise God for the godly woman at FBC who are such a gift to the church and so instrumental to the mission God has given to us to make more and maturing disciples
  • Pray that God would help the husbands from FBC to love their wives as Christ loved the church and for the wives to respect their husbands out of honor for Christ.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Creation and Commission of Man--Revisited (Gen. 2:4-17)

Creation and Commission of Man--Revisited (Gen. 2:4-17)      
  1. The First Adam
  2. The Last Adam
Summary: Gen. 2:4 ("These are the generations of the heavens and the earth...") serves as a "hinge" verse, setting apart Gen. 1:1-2:3 as the worldview-shaping preface to the entire Bible and providing an introduction for what the story of the Bible is all about.  It is the story about the heavens and the earth.  But mainly it is a story about the Lord God, the Covenant God who creates a place where a covenant people get to know and enjoy his presence.  In vv.5-17 we see God's good design for his kingdom in seed form: the kingdom that will fill the heavens and the earth begins in a small garden, initially with one man who is given a wonder and weighty work to do.  This man, the first Adam, the man of dust, failed in his work.  But we praise God for sending the last Adam, the man of heaven, Jesus Christ, to do the work that the first Adam and all of us failed to do.  The first Adam lead us into sin and therefore death.  The last Adam leads us to forgiveness and therefore eternal life. 

Main Point: God wants us to understand how he created the first Adam and the wonderful and weighty work he called him to do.  And God wants us to know that since Adam is our representative and since he failed in his work we have fallen with in into sin and death and are therefore in need of a new and better representative, One who can lead us out of sin and death into forgiveness, obedience, and eternal life.  No man of dust will do.  We need a man of heaven.  That man is Jesus Christ.

Discussion Questions:
  • In what way is Gen. 2:4 a "hinge" verse? 
  • What is the significance of the details about how God created Adam in v.7?
  • What does the description about the trees and the rivers tell us about God?
  • What does it mean to "work and to keep/guard"?
  • What statement is one making by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
  • How might the description of the tree of life in the Book of Revelation (see Rev. 2:7; 22: 2,14) inform how we understand the presence of the tree of life in the Book of Genesis (see Gen. 2:9, 16-17; 3:24)?
  • Read Rom. 5:12-21 & 1 Cor. 15:45-49.  What are the consequences of being in the first Adam?  What are the glories of being in the Last Adam?
Application Questions:
  • How should the reality that I am no longer represented by the first Adam but the Last Adam shape the way that I think, feel, and live?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for sending the man of heaven, the Last Adam to lead us out of sin and the grips of death into forgiveness and eternal life 
  • Ask God to use his word, Spirit and people to remind us of the glories that come with the fact that we are no longer in Adam but in Christ
  • Ask God to let the reality that many are still lost in Adam motivate our willingness to share the good news about the man of heaven with others

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Day 7: God "Rested" from His Finished Work (Gen. 2:1-3)

Day 7: God "Rested" from His Finished Work (Gen. 2:1-3)      
  1. The Pattern of Rest
  2. The Path of Rest
  3. The Promise of Rest
Summary: Everything in creation that we have consider thus far has been building up to Day 7, the day when God said that he "rested" from his finished work.  God set a pattern in Gen. 2:1-3 that would be returned to again and again as the story of the Bible unfolds.  The pattern of God finishing his work, resting from his work, making the seventh day a special day all on a day that seems to have no end sets us on a path for rest that we find out leads to a Person, Jesus Christ, who can provide real and lasting rest.  So a rest still remains for the people of God.  This rest is promised to the people of God.  It is a rest that we are to look forward to and strive to enter by persevering in faith. 

Main Point:  We must persevere in faith by looking back on what Jesus has done (his finished work on the cross) and looking forward to what he promises to do (provide full and final rest).

Discussion Questions:
  • Read Gen. 2:1-3 and identify these four features of the patter of rest: God finished his work, God "rested" from his work, God made the seventh day a special day, and God's rest is an unending rest.  
  • What refrain is absent on Day 7 that signaled the completion of Days 1-6? What is the significance of this omission?
  • Where does the path of rest lead us? (See Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Is there a future rest promised for Christians? Explain. (See Hebrews 3:7-4:13, esp. 4:8-9)
  • How should Christians who are no longer under the Law seek to honor the pre-fall pattern modeled by God in Gen. 2:1-3?  What is the significance of the New Testament pattern of Christians meeting on the Lord's Day (i.e. Sunday, or the first day of the week)? 
Application Questions:
  • Am I making good use of the gift of rest that God has modeled for me and has given to me for my refreshment?
  • From what I learned in this sermon, how can I best persevere in faith
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for the finished work of Christ and how it has secured ultimate rest for us
  • Praise God for the promise of future rest from our labors that we get to look forward to
  • Ask God to help us make good use of the weekly rhythm of rest that God has modeled for us and given to us for our refreshment 
  • Ask God to help us persevere in faith by looking back on the finished work of Christ and looking forward to to future rest

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 5: Fish & Sea Creatures (Gen. 1:20-23)

Day 5: Fish & Sea Creatures (Gen. 1:20-23)
God gives abundant evidence for his existence and what he is like in the things he has made:
  1. Abundant evidence on Day 5
  2. What do people do with the evidence?
  3. Seeing and helping others see with new eyes
Summary: Creation is not only a theater designed to showcase the drama of redemption but a vast laboratory filled with evidence for us to investigate.  God created with great variety (displaying his infinite wisdom) and quantity (displaying his infinite power).  The evidence is thick. The question is what will people do with the evidence? We have closed both books on God and are therefore liable to his wrath and judgment.  But God provided a wrath-absorbing gift of grace when he sent Jesus to be received by faith.  When we receive him by faith, God no longer counts the abundant evidence of our rebellion against us and we get to live the rest of our lives enjoying peace with God and seeing (and helping others see) the world through new eyes.

Main Point:  God wants us to know that he created birds and sea creatures with great variety and quantity in order show us more about himself.

Discussion Questions:
  • Thinking about God's work in Gen. 1 in general and Day 5 in particular, how has God provided abundant evidence not only for his existence but also what he is like?   
  • What is the operating assumption that Christians should come with as they investigate the world?  Why is it so important to start with that assumption?
  • According Romans 1-2, what have people done with the abundant evidence God has provided with the result that they are liable to God's wrath?
  • How has God made a way for us to be justified even though the evidence is stacked against us? (Cf. Rom. 1:16-13; 3:21-26; 5:1)
Application Questions:
  • What ways am I closing God's books and resisting God's efforts to speak to my heart and lead me in his ways? 
  • What truths in the sermon did God help me see afresh or for the first time and who can I can help to see and be refreshed by these truths?  
Prayer Points:
  • Confess ways you've been resisting God's efforts to speak to your heart and lead you in his ways
  • Praise God for giving Jesus to us as a wrath-absorbing gift of grace so that we can be justified in his sight despite the overwhelming evidence against us
  • Praise God for giving us new eyes so that we can see the evidence and then learn and experience more of what it means to glorify and enjoy God
  • Ask to help us see and help others see his world with new eyes

Day 4: Lights: Sun, Moon, Stars (Gen. 1:14-19)

Day 3: Lights: Sun, Moon, Stars (Gen. 1:14-19)
Three Reasons God created the lights:
  1. To give us powerful reminders of his holiness
  2. To give us natural rhythms to reflect his holiness
  3. To light up the stage for God to personally display his holiness
Summary: God created the sun, moon, and stars with great purposes in mind.  God set them in the sky and ordered them to rule over day and night and thus serve as very physical reminders and tangible signs that witness to the fact that God is holy.  God used these same lights to help organize time and seasons thus providing natural rhythms to our lives as we seek to reflect his holiness.  But of course our lives are out of rhythm and we have not reflected his holiness; therefore, God came to the very stage that he lit up with these lights in order to personally display his Light in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. 

Main Point:  God wants us to know that he purposely created the lights by His powerful Word.

Discussion Questions:
  • What do the sun and the moon serve as tangible reminders of? (cf. 1 John 1:5)
  • How did the sun and the moon provide natural rhythms for the life of worship among the people of Israel?  What are some of the patterns of worship in the life of a new covenant believer?  
  • How did God personally display his holiness on the world's stage? (cf. 1 John 1:5; John 8:12; 12:36; cf. Psalm 8 and how it is quoted in Hebrews 2:5-11).
  • Why is it so hope-giving that there is a Light that will outlast and outshine the lights? (Isa. 60:19-20; 30:26; Rev. 21:23; 22:5)
  • Read & Discuss how the following texts both instruct us and give us hope: Matt: 5:14; Eph. 5:8; Phil. 2:15; Prov. 4:18; Matt. 13:43.
Application Questions:
  • What rhythms of worship am I utilizing and which ones am I neglecting?  How is this effecting my relationship with God and what changes should be made?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for personally displaying his holiness by sending the Light into the world
  • Praise that we will shine like the sun in his kingdom soon and very soon
  • Ask God to help us consistently implement rhythms  that will help us reflect his holiness in our lives in a way that will cause us to shine the light of Christ brighter and brighter

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Day 3: Dry Land and Vegetation (Gen. 1:9-13)

Day 3: Dry Land and Vegetation (Gen. 1:9-13)
God's Work on Day 3:
  • The description of God causing the earth to appear and sprout on Day 3
  • The significance of God causing the earth to appear and sprout on Day 3  
Summary: On Day 2 God created the Sky by holding back the waters.  Now on Day 3 God is going to push aside the lower waters and raise the land from the deeps by the power of his Word.  But God doesn't there, he also causes the earth to sprout and flourish.  All of this took place on the 3rd Day.

Main Point:  God wants us to know that he caused the earth to appear then sprout with great variety and fruitfulness by his powerful Word.

Discussion Questions:
  • What does it tell us about God that he didn't just raise up the earth but he also caused it to sprout and flourish? 
  • What do we learn about seeds from 1:11-12? How does Paul pick up on this seed language in 1 Cor. 15:35-58?
  • What must happen before we bear fruit in our lives (see John 12:23-24; 32-33; 3:14-16; 6:44; John 15:1-5; cf. Phil. 1:9-11)?
Application Questions:
  • God is glorified in our fruitfulness.  What are areas in your life that you need God to prune you in order that you might bear more fruit for his glory?
  • How effect should the following fact have on you as a Christ follower: when you die, you will be planted into the ground like a weak seed but sprout gloriously at Christ's return when you are raised with an imperishable, immortal, spiritual body like Jesus?  
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for sending his Son to die and be planted in the grave like a seed so that through his powerful resurrection we might be raised with him to live fruitful lives for his glory
  • Praise God for the hope of the resurrection
  • Ask God to prune us and help us bear maximal fruit as we await the return of Christ

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 2: Sky to Separate the Waters (Gen. 1:6-8)

Day 2: Sky to Separate the Waters (Gen. 1:6-8)
God's Work on Day 2:
  • The description of God creating the expanse on Day 2 (God speaks, God makes, God names)
  • The significance of God creating the expanse on Day 2 
Summary: God's initial creation was characterized by barrenness and darkness.  The darkness problem was solved when the Light shined on Day 1.  But what about the barrenness problem, that is, the lingering fact that the earth was still "without form and void"? God's work on Day 2 was a massive preliminary step in solving the problem, for it was on Day 2 that God created the Sky by holding back the waters.  The description of God's work on Day 2 is powerful and the significance of this work is breathtaking. 

Main Point:  God wants us to know that he made the sky by holding back the waters by his Word.

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the most basic common denominator in God's work each day of the creation week? (see Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24-26).  How should the apostle John's description of the Word in John 1:1-5 shape who we think about God speaking throughout Genesis 1? (cf. Col. 1:16b and Heb. 1:1-3). 
  • Discuss this statement: "In the context of Genesis 1, God speaking is God making."  (cf. Ps. 33:6; 148:4-5; Heb. 11:3)   
  • What is the expanse? What are the waters below? What are the waters above?
  • Would there be any reason that God would stop holding back the waters? (6:5-8, 9-14a)
  • What would happen if God did release the waters? (see Gen. 6:17-22; 7:1, 4-5, 11-12, 20-24; 8:1-2; 20-22; 9:1, 8-17)
  • What should the release and holding back of these waters teach us in our day (see 2 Pet. 3:1-15)
Application Questions:
  • What would be a fitting, worshipful response to the fact that I was saved before God's coming judgment (fire) all because God is actively, mercifully and patiently holding back the waters?
  • How should God's patience in temporarily holding back his judgement on unbelievers shape the way that I live the Christian life and interact with unbelievers? 
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for his patience which accounts for how you and others were able to be saved
  • Praise God that you are not destined for wrath, but to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ
  • Ask God to help us, his people, live holy and godly lives as we await the return of Christ