Audio

Let Us Not Sleep Like Others Do (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

Call me crazy, but do you even get the feeling that the world is going to end?

Maybe you’re prepared: you’ve stocked up on all the essentials! But seriously, do you look at the natural disasters and the man-made troubles around and think, ‘It must all be over soon!’?

Christians have always expected the end of the world. When Jesus ascended into heaven, “two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:10b-11). And the church at Thessalonica expected that!

One of the reasons Paul wrote was their confusion about why Jesus hadn’t returned yet! In chapter 4, we see that some of them didn’t think they needed to work, because the end was about to come (4:11). And because they all expected to be alive when Jesus returned, they didn’t know what to think about believers who died (4:13-18).

But despite how many toilet rolls you own, most of the time we don’t live like the world is about to end. Or even that it will ever end! We invest our hope in this world. We treasure things here, rather than in heaven.

So, we need to hear again what God says about the end of the world.

Notice that here in 1 Thessalonians 5, the end of the world isn’t caused by a natural disaster. It isn’t a meteorite falling from the skies. It’s not a tsunami. It’s not the extinction of humanity caused by a virus or a war.

The end of the world is the Day of the Lord, the Day when the Lord Jesus returns. We need to believe that the Day is coming (v1-3). Then we need to ask, “Am I in the Darkness or in the light (v4-8)?” And “Am I appointed to wrath or salvation (v9-11)?”

Sunday 22nd March 2020

Review questions:

  • What will cause the end of the world (v1-2)?
  • What happen to the unprepared (v3)?
  • How I react to the end of the world shows who I _______________________ to (v4-5)
  • How I ____________ doesn’t change who I ___________, but who I ___________ should change how I ____________ (v6-8)
  • To be awake means to be _________________ of what is happening around me (v6)
  • To be sober means to stay ____________-_________________ whatever happens (v7)
  • Faith believes God is ___________; Love put’s God’s _________________ first; and Hope is being convinced that whatever God has ________________ will happen (v8)
  • Wrath is God’s fixed ___________________ against all that is not ______________ (v9)
  • Jesus suffered God’s wrath so that I can receive __________________________ (v10)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I should change:  

“Go From Your Land” (Genesis 11:10-12:9)

The Tower of Babel proved that, although mankind is part of one family (sharing a common ancestry),  no matter how hard we try, we are not able to achieve immortality for ourselves without God. No way that we try to find salvation from sin works. So, what can we do?

If together we cannot find our way to heaven and achieve immortality, what hope is there? Where can I find salvation? Where can I find meaning for my life, if I can’t do it on my own?

Wee see here that God has an answer for that, for where we can find hope, even though we cannot build a name that will outlive ourselves, even though our plans often end up coming to nothing.

  1. Humanity Continues Despite Futile Plans (11:20-32)
  2. The LORD Promises Humanity Blessing (12:1-3)
  3. Abram Received the LORD’s Blessing by Faith (12:4-9)

Sunday 15th March 20202

Review questions:

  • Why are the people in Genesis 11:10-26 mentioned?
  • Abram’s father ___________ left Ur to go to ______________ but stopped in ____________ (11:31)
  • Did Abram grow up worshipping the LORD (Joshua 24:2)? Yes/No
  • Did Abram earn God’s blessing by leaving his home (12:1, Hebrews 11:8-9)? Yes/No
  • Receiving God’s blessing depended on what ___________________________ would do (12:2-3).
  • God promised to make Abram a great ________________, give him a great _________________, and to bless the _____________________________ (12:2-3). Could Abram measure that? Yes/No
  • Real blessing doesn’t come through our efforts but by _____________________ (Hebrews 11:1)
  • In Canaan, Abram was a __________________ living in a ______________ (12:6-9, Hebrews 11:9)
  • What did Abram build and why (12:7-8)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I should change:  

 

Babel: Imagine All the People (Genesis 10:1-11:9)

I haven’t been able to find any songs about the Tower of Babel. But through the week, I did locate one that describes the situation in Genesis 10-11 pretty well (which we will never sing here). It goes like this:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one…

John Lennon might not have imagined it, but that’s pretty close to what was happening at Babel. It teaches us that:

  1. Humanity is Naturally Connected (10:1-32)
  2. Pride is Naturally Anti-God (11:1-4)
  3. The LORD Supernaturally Intervenes (11:5-9)

Sunday 1st March 2020

Review questions:

  • Is Genesis 10 history (1 Chronicles 1:4-23 & Luke 3:23-38)? Yes/No
  • Nimrod means “let us ___________________”. He was the first _____________________ (10:8-10)
  • All human beings are all descended from ______________________ (10:1, 32)
  • Humanism is putting us at the centre of history to the exclusion of ________________ (11:3-4)
  • Babel was an attempt to maintain human ______________ity, achieve social ______________ity, and secure a kind of __________________________ity without God (11:3-4)
  • How do I seek to make a name for myself (11:4)?  ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Did God know about Babel before “going down” to see it (11:5)? Yes/No
  • God divided people by _________________________ not by ‘race’ (11:6-7, 9)
  • How does God unite humanity (Zeph 3:9, John 12:32, Acts 2:1-12, Eph 2:11-22)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I should change:

But Do You Understand (Acts 28:17-31)

As we come to the end of Acts, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the life of Paul. But he’s not who Acts is about. He wasn’t even mentioned in the first 8 chapters!

And Acts isn’t about Peter or Philip or James or John, or any of the disciples. It isn’t even about the church as a whole. Acts is about the Gospel. It’s about what the risen Lord Jesus is doing, by the power of the Holy Spirit, through His Church, to spread the Gospel.

So, here in this last passage in Acts, we find three truths about the Gospel that we need to believe. We don’t just have to agree with them; we need to depend on them. And if we do, they will make all the difference to how we live as followers of Jesus. The three truths we must depend on are:

  1. The Gospel is About King Jesus (v17-27, 29)
  2. The Gospel is the Mission of the Church (v28)
  3. The Gospel Will Never Be Silenced (v30-31)

Sunday 23rd February 2020

Review questions:

  • The good news is the __________________________ment of every promise God gave the Jews (v20)
  • Paul stated the ______________________, explained what they ___________________________________, and showed why people should ___________________________________________________ them (v23).
  • Paul started with what ________________________ said, not what was reasonable or popular (v23).
  • The Old Testament said the Messiah must ____________ and _____________ again (Luke 24:45-47)
  • I don’t understand the Gospel unless I know it is for _______________ (v25-27).
  • What good things are not the mission of the Church (v30-31)?
  • Salvation is about ________________________ and the ___________________________ of God (v28, 31).
  • What is Acts about (1:8 & 28:31)?
  • A question I have:  
  • A truth to share: 
  • Something to pray about: 
  • How I should change: 

A Stranger in a Strange Land (Acts 28:1-16)

Our world and culture have changed dramatically. It used to be normal to go to church. Then, it was something people didn’t care about. Now, if you say you follow Jesus, you’re likely to be thought strange. Or people will think you are a bigot.

It’s not unusual for us as Christians to find ourselves the odd ones out, at work, at school, or among our family and friends. This experience of cultural exile is familiar to believers in all ages.

In Acts 28, Paul finds himself in the minority, a stranger in a strange land. What does God want us to be and do when we are the odd ones out?

  1. Expect Suspicion and Wonder (v1-6)
  2. Seek the Welfare of the City (v7-10)
  3. Find Fellowship with Believers (v11-14)
  4. Thank God for Promises Kept (v15-16)

Sunday 16th February 2020

Review questions:

  • Why might people be suspicious of Christians?
  • Followers of Jesus are ___________________________ in this world (Hebrews 11:13)
  • When do I feel outnumbered or in the minority?
  • How can I do good to those around me?
  • The best good I can do I to tell about _______________________ (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Had Paul preached in Rome before his arrest (Romans 1:7-15)? Yes/No
  • The commission to witness to Jesus was for apostles only (Acts 1:8): True/False
  • I can fellowship with believers by _________________________________________ (v14)
  • What promises does God keep to me (v15)?
  • A question I have: 
  • A truth to share: 
  • Something to pray about: 
  • How I will change:  

Exactly As We Have Been Told (Acts 27:1-44)

We ask “Why? Why do we have accidents? Why do we have time off work? Why do we get cancer? Why do relationships break down? Why do children die before their parents?”

And we ask “When? When will things be how they should be?”

Acts 27 is a situation that should not have been. But it was. And it helps us to know why God allows Christians to suffer.

It teaches us that:

  1. We Face Big Problems (v1-20)
  2. God Always Keeps His Promises (v21-44)
  3. God Gives Better Promises Than a Trial and a Shipwreck (v23)

Sermon Questions:

  • God doesn’t always take away trouble but He uses it to give ________ (Romans 5:1-5)
  • We can stand alone if we ____________ to God and are His ____________ (v23, Galatians 1:10)
  • I can find ______________ in God doing what He plans (v20, James 4:13-15)
  • Paul encouraged the crew by telling them about God’s ____________________ (v21-26)
  • God’s Word never lacks ________________________________ or ___________________ (v25)
  • Is it godly to ‘Let go and let God’ (v34)? Yes/No. Why?  
  • How can I show my faith (v35)?
  • All of the prisoners were saved because ______________________ was on the ship (v43)
  • God kept all His promises by Jesus suffering the _______________ (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:  

When Going to Church Makes Everything Worse (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)

‘I’m not a very good Christian. There are days when I don’t stop to pray. There are days when I’m too busy to read the Bible.’ Do you ever feel like that?

‘I’m not a very good Christian, but at least I got to church this week.’ But would it surprise you to hear that there are ways of coming to church that are totally useless? We can get together, sing, pray, and hear God’s Word, or even celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and it can be a total waste of time.

Here in 1 Corinthians 11 as Paul recounts the directions for how we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, he tells the church at Corinth that what they were doing was not the Lord’s Supper (v20). No, they weren’t using coke and skittles (!) like one church I’ve heard of. The problem was much deeper.

We can do what God commands us to do, but our attitudes completely undermine God’s purpose. That’s why God warns us here that these attitudes are deadly!

So, how can we recognise these deadly attitudes in the church and in ourselves?

Here are three questions to ask ourselves:

  • Do You Dishonour the Lord’s Body? (v17-22, 33-34)
  • Do You Proclaim the Lord’s Death? (v23-26)
  • Do You Discipline Yourself? (v27-32)

If we honestly answer these questions, God can reveal to us the deadly attitudes that make things worse by going to church.

Sunday 2nd February 2020

Review questions:

  • We may do what God commands, but our ___________________ can undermine it (v20)
  • We despise the church of God by putting ________________________________ first (v22)
  • I can honour the church by planning to _________________ and __________ others (v21)
  • Why do we need physical signs of the good news (v24-25)?   __________________________________________________________________________
  • The Lord’s Supper remembers the past (v24-25):
  • The Lord’s Supper remembers the future (v26):
  • Examining and discipling requires taking practical steps to ________________ (v27-29)
  • What will I stop and what will I do instead (v32)?  
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change: