Text: Jeremiah 29:13 I. The Prophecy: How would you react if you read those words? Would you adopt a fatalistic attitude: “what difference does it make then what I do? God has already said what is going to happen, and when; I’ll just sit back and wait for it.” Perhaps a more pertinent question is: how do you read, and respond to, the prophecies and promises of God, when you come across them in Scripture? Are you moved to fatalism or enthusiasm? Do you pitch in the towel or do you pitch in to help? Do you quit working or
Genesis 38 is nothing less than scandalous. Yet although a passage of Scripture that talks openly about embarrassing sin might at first affront our cultured sensibilities, the reality is this is exactly the kind of Bible we would wish for! A Bible that is about real sinners, who make really big mistakes, and mess up in horribly embarrassing ways, just like us – who God nonetheless saves, and even uses, in his great plan of Redemption.
The body does not consist of one member but of many (1 Corinthians 12:14). As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, it seems that some of their members, far from consciously affirming the diversity in their midst, were working against it. One group in the church was suggesting everyone should be just like them—have the same ministry, the same social status, the same convictions about idol-food, the same favorite preacher. Others, who felt inferior, were allowing themselves to drift into inactivity by embracing the lie that they were not useful to the church. Into this unhealthy atmosphere, Paul speaks,
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7). The fact that God has displayed his grace in calling us “to his eternal glory in Christ” (1 Peter 5:10) is rock solid confirmation that he is the God of all grace. It is proof of his love, wisdom, and power to overcome every obstacle to bring you to himself. And the goal of bringing you to himself is so that you will, for all of eternity
Text: Romans 4:25 Introduction If what this verse says is true, is true, then the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not just something we should be celebrating once a year, but every day. We are justified—declared guiltless before the perfect, holy God—because Jesus did not stay in the tomb but “was raised again.” Jesus’ resurrection is best-case scenario for the world we live in; and so the good news of the Christian gospel is that the best-case scenario for this world has actually come true. I. Jesus Was Delivered for Our Offenses Your initial response to that statement might be:
Text: Genesis 35:1-29 Introduction As Jacob’s story draws toward its conclusion, we are reminded 1) of God’s faithfulness to Jacob individually, and 2) of God’s faithfulness to His larger covenant promises to bring about redemption thru the Promised Seed. This serves then to reflect a truth for us as readers as well: with Jacob, we are meant to rejoice in the personal faithfulness of God to each of us as believers—but more importantly, we are reminded that we are not the center of the story of God’s redemption. Even God’s faithfulness to us personally is meant to enable us to
Text: Genesis 34:1-31 Introduction Genesis 34 is the account of the defiling of Jacob’s daughter Dinah, and how Israel responds to this tragedy. Though we might feel eager to hurry through the scandalous material in the chapter, God doesn’t seem to feel the same as he inspires Moses to write this. Moses devotes 31 verses to this event! Why? What does this chapter teach us about Israel, about ourselves, and about God? The primary issue in Genesis 34 is this: how do God’s people respond when He allows suffering in their lives? Will they trust God’s covenant promises, or look
Text: Genesis 33:1-20 Introduction It is important that we see the events in Genesis 33 as a sequel to Jacob’s wrestling with God and thus being broken, renamed, and blessed. We are meant to see the humbled, limping, drastically changed outcome of Jacob’s wrestling with God in Jacob’s interaction immediately after with Esau! We will see evidence in Genesis 33 of Jacob’s new-found courage, humility, repentance, holiness, and worship as a maturing believer. And perhaps most remarkably, we will see Jacob’s willingness to reconcile with his estranged brother Esau. And so we will see marks of genuine repentance and victory
Text: Revelation 3:14-22 Introduction The reigning philosophy in Western culture is: “Do what makes you happy” or “believe whatever works for you”; but Jesus speaks in Re 3:14-22, to those in the church of Laodicea and warns them (and us) not to trust feelings. We may convince ourselves that we need nothing, when in reality we are poor, blind, and in great danger. To those who are deceived in this way, Jesus says, “You are wretched, your condition is miserable, you are exposed and naked before a Holy God.” I. The Danger of Lukewarmness (14-16) One of the first things
Text: Genesis 32:1-32 Introduction Jacob finally extricated himself from his slave-like condition under his uncle Laban, only to find himself facing a life-threatening encounter with his brother Esau as Jacob returns home. For this reason, Genesis 32 is—among other things—a lesson on how to handle fear and anxiety; on how to face painful crises; on how to deal with tough decisions that must be made.
Text: Genesis 31:1-55 Introduction Although the title of today’s message is simply “Jacob Leaves Laban,” we will see that there is actually nothing simple at all about Jacob trying to extricate himself from Laban’s slave-like treatment of him. In fact, it will become evident that it only thru divine help and intervention that Jacob can succeed… just as it is true of every one of us, that our only hope for deliverance from the enemies of our soul, of our family, of our security is that God must stand for us, must speak authoritatively on our behalf.
Text: Genesis 30:1-43 Introduction The lessons set before us today can literally save your marriage, can salvage your family relationships, can solve your own heart’s relentlessly unsatisfying hunt for happiness. Our text in Genesis 30 records two of the most common challenges for every human: the temptation for women, on the one hand, to find their identity in their family, and the temptation for men, on the other hand, to find their identity in their work. The great problem with replacing God’s pleasure at our core, as the source of our identity, is that nothing in the universe is big
Text: Genesis 29:1-35 Introduction In Genesis 29, Jacob arrives in Haran. It will be 20 years before he is able to return to the Promised Land! God had promised to bless Jacob, and had said, “I will not leave you.” And Jacob will, indeed, be blessed with numerous descendants; Jacob will indeed have God divinely overlooking and overruling on his behalf… yet the fulfillment of these divine promises and blessings in Jacob’s life looks very different from what we might expect! Yes, Jacob will eventually become wealthy and have a big family – but before that happens he will be
Text: Genesis 28:1-22 Introduction The story of grace continues in Genesis 28. Jacob has up to this point been disobedient to God, selfish in his decisions, and dishonest even with his own family. While Jacob is reaping the consequences of his own sin—alone, homeless, and with uncertain prospects for his future in an unfamiliar land—God is meanwhile pursuing Jacob with his gracious purposes. God breaks into the dream Jacob has formed for himself—which is looking more and more like a nightmare—and God gives him a new, heaven-sent vision. Jacob will succeed because God is gracious, because God will give him—not
Text: Genesis 27:1-46 Introduction There are no heroes in Genesis 27. This chapter completes the story of how God’s prophecy concerning Esau and Jacob comes to pass, that the older brother will serve the younger. Yet, throughout this chapter, both parents work against each other and against God’s will in order to side with their favorite child. Both children behave deplorably as well. It is for this very reason that this chapter, as much perhaps as any other in the Bible, reminds us of the offensiveness of grace! There is no one in this chapter who deserves blessing… yet blessing