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Sunday, September 25, 2016

John's Greeting to the Seven Churches (Rev. 1:4-8)

Outline: In Revelation 1:4-8
  1. John's greeting to the churches
  2. John's desire for the churches  
Summary: The Book of Revelation is a gift from God (v.1) addressed to the "seven churches" (v.4; cf. v.11).  Here John is using the number seven as a symbolic tool referring to the full number of churches (from all times and places), of which the "seven Asia" are representative.  In light of all that he has been shown, John uses his greeting to express his desire that the triune God (Father, Spirit, Son) would use this revelation to strengthen and reassure the churches as they eagerly anticipate the coming of Christ.

Main Point: John wants the churches to be experience much-needed grace and peace from the triune God through the message of Book of Revelation.

Discussion Questions:
  • Who is the Book of Revelation written to?
  • How are numbers often used in apocalyptic literature? 
  • How is John using the number seven in v.4?
  • What effect does John hope that the message of Revelation in general and the descriptions of the Father, Spirit, and Son in (v.4) in particular will have on the churches?
  • How does the gospel both save us and send us (vv.5b-6)? 
  • Why will many people wail at the sight of Jesus' coming?  What effect should this have on us in terms of witnessing to the unbelievers that God has placed in our lives?
Application Questions:
    • What circumstances are troubling me at present?
    • How might the descriptions of the Father, Spirit, and Son in v.4 be used to strengthen and comfort me?
    • What people in my life would wail at Christ's coming? How should this influence my interactions with them?
    Prayer Points:
    • Praise Father, Spirit, and Son for who they are according to vv.4-8
    • Ask God to strengthen and comfort you in light of who He is
    • Praise Jesus for saving you and and for sending you.
    • Plead with God to help you urgently share the gospel with unbelievers so that they will worship and not wail when Jesus comes back.  

    Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Introduction to the Book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1-3)

    Outline: In Revelation 1:1-3
    1. Introduction: the Book of Revelation as apocalyptic literature
    2. The Book of Revelation is a gift
    3. The Book of Revelation is a gift to the churches
    4. The Book of Revelation is for our joy
    5. The Book of Revelation is meant to produce urgency
    Summary: This sermon serves as an introduction to the Book of Revelation in general and the first three chapters in particular.  To help us get our bearings, we began by focusing on the meaning of the term revelation and how "the things that must soon take place" come to us in the form of apocalyptic literature, that is, laden with words of prophecy, symbols, numbers, and Old Testament quotations. Revelation is a gift from God to the Church and it is designed for our joy in this life and our eternal joy in the life to come.  And Revelation is framed by one all-consuming truth--Jesus is coming soon!  Therefore, we are called to hear and heed the message of Revelation with great urgency.

    Main Point: Revelation is God's gift to the Church to produce conquerors who will live with joyful urgency in light of the Jesus' return.

    Discussion Questions:
    • According to v.1, what is being revealed or made known in the book of revelation?
    • In vv.1-2, note the sequence of how the Revelation is passed on: Revelation is a gift from God passed on to _____, _____, _____, and finally to the _____.
    • "The things that must soon take place" are revealed to us in the form apocalyptic literature.  What are some of the features of apocalyptic literature?  Why might it be helpful to keep these features in mind as we study the Book of Revelation?
    • How do these characteristics of apocalyptic literature serve to "turn the volume up."
    • Who is the one who is truly blessed in v.3? (cf. James 1:22-24)
    • Discuss this point: we can understand the message of the Book of Revelation without understanding every detail within it.
    • What do you think is the basic message of the Book of Revelation?
    Application Questions:
    • What does God want to do in my life through the Book of Revelation?
    • What is one thing that stood out in this sermon that I want to keep in mind throughout this study of the Book of Revelation?  
    Prayer Points:
    • Praise God for the hope of Jesus' return and the fact that the darkness is almost over
    • Ask God to help you understand message of the Book of Revelation
    • Ask God to help you be a doer and not just a hearer of the message of the Book of Revelation

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Godly Submission to Governing Authorities (1 Pet. 2:13-17)

    Outline: In 1 Peter 2:13-17
    1. God ordains governing authorities
    2. God commissions governing authorities
    3. God commands his people to submit to governing authorities
    Summary: This is the second of two sermons aimed at preparing our minds and hearts for the upcoming elections.   After telling us that we are a chosen and set apart people living as sojourners and exiles in this world (2:9-12), Peter goes on to explain how we are to conduct ourselves among unbelievers.  He begins on the societal level, calling God's people to exercise godly submission toward governing or civil authorities (2:13-17).  Christians must recognize that it is God who or ordains and commissions these authorities and therefore our submission to them is in fact another evidence of our submission to God himself.  Godly submission looks like doing so much good that the ignorance of fools is silenced and civil authorities cannot help but praise our good behavior.

    Main Point: Christians are called to honor God by exercising godly submission to civil authorities.

    Discussion Questions:
    • How should the fact that it is God who ordains governing authorities shape the way that we think about the upcoming election? (cf. Rom. 13:1)
    • What does God commission governing authorities to do? (v.14; cf. Rom. 13:3-4)
    • According to 1 Pet. 2:13-17 (cf.Romans 13:1-7), what motivations should incline us to submit to governing authorities? 
    • Are there biblical limits to this command to submit to governing authorities? (cf. Peter and the Apostle's example in Acts 5, esp. vv.29,40-42)
    • Exercise: read 1 Pet. 2:18-3:6.  How does God expect believing wives and slaves to respond to disobedient husbands and masters? How might this help us think through how to respond when civil authorities are disobedient to God's commission?
    • How might Jeremiah's exhortation to Israelite exiles in Jer. 29:4-7 be instructive to us in our cultural moment? 
    Application Questions:
    • Am I marked by godly submission to the authorities God has put in my life (civil authorities, employers, a husband, church leaders, etc)?
    • In what ways do I honor or dishonor the civil authorities God has put in place?
    • What changes need to be made in my thinking and in my heart attitude in order for me to honor God with my words, attitude, and actions this coming election season?
    Prayer Points:
    • Confess ways you have not had a submissive heart toward authorities He has placed in your life
    • Praise God for sending Jesus, the King of Kings, who who has acted and continues to act for our greatest good and who is preparing an eternal kingdom where peace and quite and comfort and lavish provision will be enjoyed by all His loyal subjects. 
    • Ask God to help you grow in godly submission so that you can have a more winsome witness in your different spheres of influence.