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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