We’ve talked about the letters these last couple of weeks, and we around to talk about 4 other letters tonight. The letters may seem like they don’t apply to us, but these were written to early Christians as guidance and empowerment to them in their early faith. I think these letters can still pertain to us when we look at them big picture wise, because especially in confirmation we are young in our faith as we continue to grow it.
1 Timothy 1:3-7
What would love from an impure heart, a bad conscience, or insincere faith look like?
What does love from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith look like? Can you think of a time when you saw someone offer or act out of this kind of love?
We see love is greater than the law again. Why is this such a big deal?
There are things about the Bible that have been said so much, that we start to believe it though it isn’t true. Can you think of other examples?
1 Timothy 4:12-15
What is Paul’s message to Timothy? (early 20’s)
What gifts does Timothy have?
Have you ever felt this way?
What is our Christian walk supposed to look like?
Faith Changes us and transforms us. There is no way around that. What are some ways that faith has changed you? Works are a fruit of faith.
Many of the New Testament letters were written to encourage churches and individuals. If you were to write a letter of encouragement, to whom would you write it and what would you say?
This is the only story of Jesus childhood in the 4 gospels. Jesus is sitting and learning from the Rabbis. Jesus is asking questions, answering questions, and growing in his faith. It may be easy to read this and think Jesus is having an attitude with his parents, but this is far from it. Jesus was obedient to his parents when they said it was time to go. I’m sure this was quite the conversation Jesus parents lost him for 3 DAYS! 3 Days! That would be horrifying!
How would you feel if you were Jesus Parents?
What does this tell us about Jesus?
A disobedient pre-teen?
Humble Son of God?
Jesus even says “don’t you think I’d be doing my father’s business…”
What does this mean? Wasn’t his father a carpenter?
If you dad was God, the creator of the universe how would you feel? Would you have an ego?
How did Jesus use this power?
What is humility?
Humility is knowing our relationship with God and where we stand.
What do you need to be humbled in?
What does it feel like to be known or understood by someone? What if they don’t understand seem to understand something that you’ve done or needed?
When I was applying for ministry jobs when I first got married, I applied a church that I did some work with when I was in high school for a youth ministry job. I had changed a lot and really come of out my shell between high school and when I was 24. That was a 6-8-year difference and time to change, grow, and mature. As I was interviewing they asked what part of ministry I was interested in; the logistical desk work or upfront interactions with students and leaders. I said that I love direct interaction with people. The interviewer was shocked…”you mean you really want to work with people, aren’t you quiet and shy.” I was more shy in high school, but when I came out of my shell and was secure in my identity this was opposite from who I was. It felt disheartening and like something I wasn’t called to since who I was, was not heard or understood. Thankfully God lead in a different direction.
Luke 8:9-10 What is a parable?
Parables are stories to illustrate and explain points, not to obscure them.
As we read parables, we can look for who the God, Jesus, and human characters are in these. This gives us a glimpse of God’s plan and love for us.
Parables can be broken down into some themes:
Kingdom of Haven
Luke 13:18-19 Mustard Seed
Mustard seed is the smallest seed, yet it grows into something that is huge. And it provides shelter. What does this mean for us? God’s kingdom keeps growing to make room for all of us!
Luke 15:8-10 Lost Coin
Pharisees would not value a woman’s morals, though would care for the poor. They come from an educated class that would have much more than 10 coins. A coin was about 10 days wages.
The angels in heaven took great interest in God’s work, so they would be rejoicing for someone coming to faith or back to God. Searching for what was missing and then celebrating what was found with a feast by inviting neighbors. It’s so reassuring to know that God will seek us out and rejoice when we turn to Him, not matter what we’ve done.
Love and Forgiveness
Luke 10:30-37 Good Samaritan
Samaria was not a good place to be, people would not look fondly at having to travel through.
Two who were very well to do passed an injured person in an area where they would most need help.
The lowest of the lows (a Samaritan) stops and helps this person and sacrifices for their care.
Luke 18:1-8 Unjust Judge
Widow is ultimate example of the oppressed
If the unjust judge who cared not for widows can give justice, how much more can a just judge of all the earth give?
Look what prayer can do and how God provides.
Even if the unjust judge is slow to listen God is quicker
Eschatological: what happens when we die, the final judgment of humanity
Luke 13:6-9 Barren Fig Tree
Jewish leaders believed that God would judge Israel every year to decide when he would be coming back for the final judgement.
Fig trees did not usually need manure, so with the vineyard worker doing all he could to save the tree they wondered if Israel repented in its ways if God would come back sooner
Owner of vineyard is God, the worker is Jesus
One last chance for hearers to express repentance and receive grace
Luke 8:16-18 Lamp Under a Jar/Bushel
We have the light of Christ and we should not hide it. We need to share that light with others.
For the next four weeks we will be going through the four Gospels. This may seem like we are going to be talking about the same story/good news for four meetings. Yes, the Gospels all talk about Jesus, but they also have their own flavor. The difference is where things get interesting, which what we will be talking about.
Mark was the first Gospel written, and Matthew is based very closely to Mark. Yet, Matthew is twice as long as Mark. We will talk about this a little later.
To open our night together we talked about context through telling jokes (clean). Just think if we only heard the punchline to a joke without the lead up. Things may be confusing right? Of course! Or at the very least it wouldn’t be as funny or meaningful. How does this tie into Matthew?
Matthew was written to Jewish Christians, or people who have heard about Jesus, but never met Him or knew as much about Him as others. This time for the Jewish Christians was very difficult and confusing. They no longer had control of the temple due to it being destroyed. This rattled them to the core of their beliefs. Matthew was writing to reassure the Jewish people who God was still with them and Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy.
What if suddenly there was no church building, no central place to gather, worship, and learn about God? What would you do if this was your reality?
When Matthew wrote the Gospel, this was the reality of the people he was writing to. Why does this matter?! Context matters to help give us a fuller understanding of what we are reading in the Bible.
Let’s look at some fulfillment of prophecy that Matthew is sharing with the Jewish people, who are waiting for their savior to come. Matthew 1:22-23 talks about a virgin giving birth to the savior. This was the fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah 7:14.
What does “God with us” mean to you today?
Why is it important for Matthew to relate to the Jewish people?
Now, lets look at Matthew 5:1-12. This is a section called the Beatitudes is an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.
Which Beatitude would you choose to live out?
There is so much more to Matthew and the life of Jesus that you can read. Each of the Gospels will take a different look at the life of Jesus, and have different perspectives. My hope is that as we go through the Gospels we will develop a fuller view of Jesus and learn more about what we believe as Christians.