Community | 1 Peter 4:7-11

Sermon | Week 4

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11)

A new command I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

OPENING THOUGHT

Through the Western Meadows Values Series, we are studying the biblical values that we hold as a church. Jesus’ Great Commission is our foundation. With those final words, Jesus commanded His disciples to make disciples of all nations. Our Lord calls us to fill the earth with His disciples, His image-bearers, so refusing to do so is disobedience.

Knowing Jesus’ command is important, but it is also necessary that we know how to make disciples. Like our Christian walk, disciples are made on two levels: individually and communally. Individually, we make disciples through witnessing about Christ with our lives, sharing the gospel with our words, and teaching one another to obey everything that He has commanded us. Communally, we make disciples as the church through the proclamation of the Scriptures, praying together, and loving one another in community.

Since we have addressed the importance of Scripture and prayer, we will now study the necessity of community. Though there are many texts that describe Christian community, Peter writes one of the best. He emphasizes that godly love must be earnest, and it will display itself through hospitality and using our gifts to serve one another. While this type of community is evangelistic, it is predominately a means of discipleship, building one another further in their walk with Christ.

GROUP DISCUSSION

Read verse 7 and discuss the following.

  1. Peter states that we are living in the last days. How does this fact connect to both prayer and community? How does Jesus’ coming impact how we live now?

Read verse 8 and discuss the following.

  1. Why is it important that our love for one another be earnest? How does love cover a multitude of sins?

Read verses 9-11 and discuss the following.

  1. Peter describes two ways that we love one another: by showing hospitality and by serving. Why should our hospitality be free from grumbling? Are you hospitable? What things typically cause you to grumble?
  2. What gift has God given you to serve the church? How can we speak “as one who speaks oracles of God”? How can we serve in the strength God provides?

PERSONAL REFLECTION

Because all Scripture profits us through teaching, reproving, correcting, and training us, reflect upon the studied text, and ask yourself the following questions.

  • What has God taught you through this text (about Himself, sin, humanity, etc.)?
  • What sin has God convicted or reproved you of through this text?
  • How has God corrected you (i.e. your theology, thinking, lifestyle, etc.) through this text?
  • Pray through the text, asking God to train you toward righteousness by conforming you to His Word.
Advertisements

Making Disciples | Matthew 28:18-20

Week 1 | Sermon

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42 ESV)

OPENING THOUGHT

The Great Commission is important because it is Jesus’ final words to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. These are the words that Christ wanted to be ringing in our ears until He comes back. We would, therefore, do well to heed them. Jesus’ Great Commission is the mission statement of the Church. His earthly ministry was primarily about bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth, which reached its culmination in His death and resurrection. Though Jesus is no longer physically here, God’s kingdom must continue to expand. This is where we come in.

Disciples are made through two simultaneous avenues: individually and communally. As individual Christians, we obey Christ’s command primarily by witnessing, evangelizing, and teaching other about Jesus. As a community, we make disciples through the proclaiming and holding to the Scriptures together, praying together, and growing into mature community together.

Through the Western Meadows Values Series, we will focus on why making disciples is the mission of the church and how disciples are made through Scripture, prayer, and community. As the church, our aim and mission is to make disciples to the glorification and exaltation of Jesus Christ. This mission comes directly from our Lord. Making disciples, therefore, is not optional. We can only either obey or disobey His command.

Read Genesis 1:28 and discuss the following.

  1. Why did God command humanity to multiply and fill the earth?

Read Matthew 28:18-20 and discuss the following.

  1. Why does Jesus command His disciples to go to all nations and make more disciples?
  2. How can each Christian obey the command of making disciples?
  3. How does the church as a community make disciples?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Obey. Are you intentional about making disciples, both individually and collectively? Think through how your life serves as a witness for Christ, how you have shared the gospel with someone, and/or how you have trained someone up in the faith. In what ways will you continue to do so?
  • Pray. Ask the Father for grace and strength to obey the commands of Christ.

I Never Knew You | Matthew 7:21-23

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom
of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is
in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did
we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your
name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I
declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers
of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

OPENING THOUGHT

Jesus’ most famous teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, was preached
to His disciples for the purpose of informing them how to live as citizens
of the kingdom of heaven. Chapter five began with the Beatitudes,
which are the characteristics for how Christians are to live. He then
proceeded to define His followers purpose and their relation to the
Old Testament commandments, which He demanded must now be
met at the heart-level. In chapter six, Jesus taught how we give to the
poor, pray, and fast in-correctly. He also encouraged us to store our
treasure in heaven, not on earth, and when they are secure with God,
we can truly live without anxiety, knowing that God is in control.

Chapter seven began with a warning against hypocritically judging
others (take the log out of your eye before removing the speck from
your brother’s eye) and continued with the call to love others with God’s
love (treat others as you desire to be treated). Jesus then began to
conclude the sermon with a series of warning. First, He warned us to
enter by the narrow gate which, though difficult, leads to life. Second,
He warned against false teachers, who would infiltrate the church like
wolves in sheep’s clothing.

We now come to Jesus’ third warning. If last week Christ warned against
deception from false teachers, He now warns against self-deception.
Jesus tells us that many who call Jesus Lord and do good works in His
name will not enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, Jesus will declare
that He never knew them at all! These are some of the most solemn
and sobering words in all the Scriptures, calling us to consider any false
hopes that we hold to and whether we truly know the Lord at all.

Read verses 21-23 and discuss the following.

1. Jesus begins by saying that not everyone who calls Him Lord
will enter the kingdom of heaven, but it is also important to
remember that no one will enter who does not call Jesus Lord.
Why is the Lordship of Christ so significant?
2. These verses reveal that many who have hope of entering the
kingdom of heaven will one day learn that their hope was false.
What are some of these false hopes?
3. The severity of this text might cause us to question the reality of
our salvation. How can we know that we are saved?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

• Obey. The only hope we have of entering the kingdom of heaven
is by following the difficult path and entering by the narrow gate,
which is marked by the death of self and faith in God’s grace.
Reflect upon whether you trust fully in the gospel or upon your
own efforts.
• Pray. This week pray for friends or family you know that are
currently being deceived by false teaching.

 

A Tree & Its Fruit (Matthew 7:15-20)

Week 15 | Sermon

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20)

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.  (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

OPENING THOUGHT

Since we are rapidly approaching the end of our study on the Sermon on the Mount, let us recall what we have discussed so far. Jesus preached this sermon, primarily to His disciples, as a sort of shorthand guide for living as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. He began with the Beatitudes, which defined the characteristics of a Christian. He then proceeded to establish His followers purpose on earth: to be the salt and light of the world. Finally, Christ closed out chapter five by explaining how the commandments and laws of the Old Testament function within His kingdom.

Jesus began chapter six by diving into acts of religious piety, such as giving to the poor, prayer, and fasting. Likely to His disciples’ surprise, Christ taught that those acts could easily be done from a bad heart, causing them not to be godly, but sinful. He then encouraged His disciples to seek after the heavenly reward from the Father, which is an eternal treasure that can never be lost or destroyed. And once our treasure is fixed in eternity, we can truly live without anxiety.

Now in chapter seven, Jesus has been covering highly important topics, like how not to be a hypocrite, how to come before the Father, and that the gate to heaven is narrow and hard. His warning today is against false teachers. Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, they will seek to invade the church community, but Jesus states that we will be able to recognize them. Just as a wolf will never truly imitate a sheep and bad trees will never bear good fruit, so will we be able to notice false teachers by their lifestyle.

Read verses 15-20 and discuss the following.

  1. This warning about recognizing false teachers comes directly after the explanation of the narrow and broad gates. How are both passages connected to one another?
  2. False teachers often come as wolves in sheep’s clothing. How might false teachers disguise themselves today?
  3. What are some common and/or popular false teachings of today?
  4. At the begin of chapter seven, Jesus warned against judging others. How do these two passages relate to one another?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Obey. Take time to review important confessions of faith (such as the Baptist Faith and Message, the London Confession of Faith of 1689, or the Nicene Creed), making certain that you understand the good fruit of sound doctrine.
  • Pray. This week pray for friends or family you know that are currently being deceived by false teaching.

The Narrow Gate | Matthew 7:13-14

Week 14 | Sermon

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

OPENING THOUGHT

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount to His disciples in order to teach them what citizenship within the kingdom of heaven should look like. He began the sermon with the Beatitudes, which defined the characteristics that ought to mark Christ’s followers. He then clarified the Christian’s purpose on earth and explained how we are supposed to relate to the Old Testament’s laws and commandments. In chapter six, Jesus taught how we give to the poor, pray, and fast incorrectly. He also encouraged us to store our treasure in heaven, not on earth, and when they are secure with God, we can truly live without anxiety, knowing that God is in control.

In chapter seven, Jesus warned us against hypocritically judging others, telling us to first take the log out our own eye before getting a speck out of our brother’s eye. He then encouraged us to petition the Father in prayer. He explains that our heavenly Father will lovingly give to us what we need, so long as we first recognize our dependency upon Him. Furthermore, once we know the loving-kindness of the Father, it will transform how we love and treat the people around us.

Today, we will cover just two small verses, yet they are loaded with meaning and impact. Here Jesus commands His disciples to travel down the difficult path, entering into the narrow gate, which leads to eternal life and to avoid the easy road with a broad gate, which leads to destruction. Our Lord is describing in metaphor the only two ways of living that are available to us. Either we will follow Christ down the narrow road or we will take whatever path pleases us, which ultimately is all a part of the broad path to destruction.

Read verses 13-14 and discuss the following.

  1. Jesus tells us that there are only two paths with two gates, the narrow leads to life and the broad leads to destruction. What is the narrow gate of which Jesus is speaking?
  2. Why is the gate narrow and the path hard that leads to life?
  3. Is God righteous by only providing one way of salvation?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Obey. Consider Jesus’ command: enter by the narrow gate. Take time to prayerfully meditate upon the gospel, coming to God in repentance once again.
  • Pray. Pray for friends and family in your life who are traveling down the broad and easy road toward destruction that they may come to know the truth of the gospel.

The Process of Creation | Genesis 1:2-25

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

OPENING THOUGHT

Though only one verse into the study, my hope is that even from the first verse of Genesis that you would begin to understand the magnitude and glorious power of our God. Within the span of a few words, we learned that God is eternal, transcendent, and incomprehensible. He stands outside of all creation because He created all of it. Unique and holy, there is no one and nothing like God. And in His infinite grace and mercy, He has given to us His Word that we might know Him as our Father!

Now we read how creation came about. Verse 2 gives a very ominous and foreboding tone. For some reason, the earth was formless, void, and covered with the deep. The deep was an interesting Hebrew concept for viewing the ocean. When they looked upon the sea, they saw everything in nature that could not be tamed. The waters of the deep represented the chaos of nature. God then proceeds to bring order to the chaos through creation.

The days of creation are organized into two groups. The first three days focus on God forming the formlessness of earth. The final three days then center upon God filling the void on earth. Also the days correspond with one another. Day one corresponds with day four, day two with day five, and day three with day six. The first set forms. The final set fills. This process stands in sharp contrast to the chaotic nature of verse 2. Of the many lessons to be learned from these verses, one of the largest is that our God is a God of order and process, not of chaos and disorder.

Read verse 2 and discuss the following.

  1. This verse describes the primordial earth in disorder and chaos, but we are told that the Spirit was hovering upon the face of the deep. God, through His Word and by His Spirit, would soon form the formless and fill the empty. How is this similar to the miracle of salvation?

Read verses 3-5 and discuss the following.

  1. God begins creation by bring light into the darkness. Of course, when light enters darkness, the darkness is dispelled. How does this provide a picture of Christ’s coming into the world?

Read verses 6-10 and discuss the following.

  1. Day two describes God commanding the deep (the waters that covered the face of the earth), creating the sky and the sea. What does God’s commanding of the deep reveal to us about Him?

Read verses 11-13 and discuss the following.

  1. Day three sees God forming land and vegetation, which God did to prepare the earth for the creation of humanity. What does this tell us about the provision of God?

Read verses 14-19 and discuss the following.

  1. In day four, God sets the celestial objects in the heavens. Today, we know that stars are immensely large and full of magnificently powerful chemical reactions; however, their creation is covered in three words: “and the stars.” Why does God place so much emphasis upon earth, even though it is little more than a pale, blue dot in the universe? What do the heavens tell us about the glory of God?

Read verses 20-25 and discuss the following.

  1. On day five and six, God fills the sea, sky, and land with fish, birds, and animals. God commands them to be fruitful and fill the earth, which is a blessing to them. Why are the commands of God always blessings to those who obey?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Consider the billions upon billions of stars and galaxies in the heavens, and then consider if you have a glorious enough view of God.
  • Throughout these first days of creation, God orders the chaos for the purpose of providing a home for humanity. Reflect upon your own faith, and think about whether you trust God to provide in everyday matters.

Ask & Receive | Matthew 7:7-12

Week 13 | Sermon

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Matthew 7:12)

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)

OPENING THOUGHT

The Gospel of Matthew proclaims that Jesus came to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth. Within this context, we can understand Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as a sort of handbook to being a citizen of God’s kingdom. Chapter five began with the Beatitudes, which are the characteristics for how Christians are to live. He then proceeded to define His followers purpose and their relation to the Old Testament commandments, which He demanded must now be met at the heart-level.

Chapter six focused upon godly religious behavior. Using the examples of giving to the poor, praying, and fasting, Jesus revealed that we could do such activities with the intent to be seen by others and render them void as godly works. Christ then urged His followers to store up for themselves treasures in heaven. This type of eternal investment could only come from a heart that served God before money or any other false gods. The chapter then closed with a command for us not to be anxious about our lives, which of course can only be followed when our heart’s treasure is eternally secure.

After discussing Facebook’s most cited verse last week, we now move into Jesus diving back into the topic of prayer. Here Jesus encourages us to bring our needs before Father, knowing that He will be faithful to give us good things. Of course, this is not a blanket promise that God will always give us what we want; rather, Jesus is affirming that we can pray knowing that the Father will provide what we need when we ask according to His will. We also close with Jesus’ succinct summary of the entire Old Testament: The Golden Rule. In light of God’s good gifts to us, we ought also to do good to others.

Read verses 7-11 and discuss the following.

  1. Jesus gives us three versions of the same principle: if you ask, you will receive. Does Jesus mean that God will give Christians anything they ask for?
  2. How do Jesus’ words here relate to James 4:1-4?
  3. How are we able to have confidence that however the Father answers our prayers is always the best?

Read verse 12 and discuss the following.

  1. Jesus calls the Golden Rule a summary of the Law and Prophets. How is this statement a summary of all of God’s laws and commandments?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Obey. Prayerfully evaluate how well you live out the Golden Rule. Do you truly do to others as you would have them do to you? Resolve to love others with Christ-like love.
  • Pray. Follow the commands of Jesus regarding prayer. Ask God to meet your needs, but ask in accordance with His will, seeking first His kingdom.