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Sleep is a Gift from God (Psalm 127:1-5)

As you look back on 2019, how do you assess it?
And what do you expect in 2020?
There’s a lot of talk about being blessed today, even from people who don’t believe in a God who can bless them.
How would you know if you were blessed?
How do you know that God loves you? If the Lord of all the universe loves you, what proof would there be in your life?
So, what does is look like to live knowing that God loves you? Two truths should be obvious to anyone who sees you:

1. You Can’t Achieve True Blessing (v1-2)
2. The LORD Gives True Blessings (v2-5)

Sunday 29th December 2019

Review questions:

  • We love to think that we can make ourselves ______________________ (v1)
  • God ____________ and ___________ (v1)
  • True blessing cannot come from working ____________________ or from ______________________ ourselves (v2)
  • Does doing more make me more productive or satisfied (v2)? Yes/No
  • Sleep shows God ___________ me (v2)
  • I can work _____________fully because God is at work (v1-2)
  • When I run after blessings, __________ and ______________ often suffer (v2-3)
  • Does God sleep (Psalm 121:4)? Yes/No
  • I’m responsible to get enough _______
  • What do you do just because you are family?
  • ________ share burdens, joys, & goals
  • Make your children ___________ (v4-5)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

‘My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation’ (Luke 2:22-35)

What do you think when you see a new baby?

I usually notice whether they have much hair or not. Maybe you’re trying to see whether they look more like their Mum or their Dad.

How do you react to a baby?

Do you wonder what they’ll grow up to be?

We’ve just read what people thought of Jesus when he was born. Mary and Joseph took Him to the Temple to dedicate Him to the Lord. And they met Simeon, a man who was waiting for God to save His people.

The Holy Spirit made sure he went to the Temple that day. There was so much going on: people praying, others talking, priests making sacrifices. And there among them were Mary & Joseph. And there was Jesus, the most important person of all. What do you think about Him?

What did Simeon think about Him? Simeon looked at this 8-day-old child and praised God, “My eyes have seen your salvation!” (v30).

So, what do you see when you look at Jesus? Do you see a good man? A wise teacher? A myth? What do you think of Jesus?

The message today has only one point: Seeing Jesus is seeing salvation! That’s what Simeon was looking for. And that’s what we all need.

Sunday 22nd December 2019

  • Simeon was waiting for God to _________________________________ (v25, 30)
  • I think Jesus is Jesus always ___________ (John 5:19)
  • What did God promise (v29, Genesis 3:15)?
  • I find peace in ______________________
  • Jesus never _______________________ His peace (John 14:27)
  • Simeon could die in peace because God’s _______________ is secure (v29)
  • Jesus reveals my _____________ (v35)
  • We need a __________________________ to take away our sin (Hebrews 9:22)
  • Sin earns ____________ (Romans 6:23)
  • Because Jesus died, I can ___________ to God (Luke 23:45, Hebrews 10:20)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

Is It Incredible that God Raises the Dead? (Acts 26:1-32)

Christmas is a time of repetition: the favourite carols and the familiar Christmas story. By December, the TV channels have pulled their original content and put on repeats. We repeat the stress, the busyness.

And Acts 26 could seem like another repeat. This is Paul’s fifth trial. And it’s the third time Luke records Paul’s conversion. Was he being paid by the word?

No, Paul turns to his conversion for two reasons: to defend his ministry and to persuade his judges to believe. The repeat underlines what it means to be a Christian. The repeat tells us why we should be Christians. The repeat shows us how to be a Christian:

  1. Hope in God’s Promise (v1-8)
  2. Receive God’s Forgiveness (v9-18)
  3. Demonstrate Your Repentance (v19-23)
  4. Are You Persuaded to Believe? (v24-32)

Sunday 15th December 2019

Review questions:

  • Paul was _____________________ (v4-5)
  • What is God’s promise (v6-8, Daniel 12:2)?
  • Where will Christians be before the resurrection (Philippians 1:23 & 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)?
  • Who sins (Romans 3:23)?
  • What is sin (v14)?
  • We receive forgiveness when we ________________________ (v20, 17:30)
  • “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found __________________________; and left _____________.” (G.K. Chesterton).
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Shame, regret, embarrassment, and apologies are not _____________ (v18)
  • Forgiveness is a ______________ (v18)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

When to Die, When to Try (Acts 25:1-27)

It is sometimes said that if we really have faith, then troubles of life won’t trouble us. That if we believe hard enough, then God will deliver us, God will give us whatever we ask help for, whether it is trouble with our health, trouble with our family or our businesses. That what we really need is to have more faith, and then God will give us the things that we really desire.

And people go so far as to say that there is really no need for Christians to suffer or to be sick. If they have enough faith, that won’t happen. Just declare that they will be well, and they will be well.

But that doesn’t stack up against what the New Testament teaches, does it?

Think of what Paul writes to the church in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27:

24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”

A man of great faith, like Paul, can still write of the sufferings that he goes through in the name of the Lord Jesus.

We realise that that’s not the way that things should be, but it is very often the way that things are.

That’s not reflection on Paul’s faith or on the measure of our faith either, if we suffer, even sickness, even trouble.

As we come to Acts 25, we find a situation that should not be. Things are not fair. Life has not turned out the way that Paul would have expected it to.

We do the same. We expect the best of people. We don’t expect disaster around every corner. Yet, life doesn’t turn out the way we imagine that it would.

At the end of Acts 24, we left Paul in Caesarea. He has been declared innocent, yet he rots in jail for two years. How’s that fair? Yet, that’s what happens.

What should we think of that? Should we think that maybe his faith wasn’t as strong as it seemed?

No, it’s actually an opportunity to deepen our faith!

What should we learn as we come to this passage? What must we believe when life seems totally unfair?

  1. Thank God for Good Procedure (v1-5)
  2. Don’t Fear the Truth (v6-12)
  3. What’s Your Issue? (v13-27)

Sunday 8th December 2019

  • Paul was in prison ____________ years (24:27)
  • Why did the Jews want Paul sent to Jerusalem (v2-3)?
  • “God is not a God of _______________________ but of ______________________” (1 Corinthians 14:33)
  • What evidence and witnesses were there against Paul (v7)?
  • What should have happened?
  • What did Festus want (v9)?
  • Why did Paul appeal to Caesar (v11-12, 9:15, 23:11)?
  • Festus knew Paul was ________________________ (v25)
  • What did Paul and the Jews disagree about (v19)?
  • The issue I keep coming back to is _____________________
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

‘Shepherd the Flock’ (1 Peter 5:1-14)

Hypocrisy, grumbling, greed. They all reveal a heart that says, “I deserve better than God is giving me.” And that’s one of the oldest lies around. When Satan asked Eve, “Did God actually say ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the Garden’?” (Genesis 3:1), he wasn’t questioning whether God had actually said those words; He was asking, ‘How could God have said that to you if He wants what’s best for you? Surely you know better!’ And every time we agree with Satan, that’s pride.

That’s the sin at the root of all this. Jesus says, “You will recognize them by their fruits,” (Matthew 7:20). The fruit is the action: grumbling and hypocrisy. But the root of the plant is pride. And it goes deep down.

Here, God tells us one essential fact about Himself, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,” (v5b). So, if we’re reeling from all the focus on hypocrisy and grumbling: maybe we should be. Because God opposes the proud. But remember, He also gives grace to the humble.

So, what kind of fruit will that grace grow? What does God’s grace do in us? It will cause us to do four things:

  1. Care for the Flock of God (v1-4)
  2. Humble Yourselves Under God (v5-7)
  3. Keep Watch and Resist the Devil (v8-9)
  4. Be Strengthened by the God of All Grace (v10-14)

Sunday 24th November 2019

Review questions:

  • The root cause of grumbling and hypocrisy is ____________________ (v5)
  • Elders must _______ for the flock (v1)
  • Oversight requires having ___________ conversations that do us good (v2)
  • No one should be _______ to lead (v2)
  • Elders lead by __________________ (v3)
  • Who should elders please (v4)?
  • Learn _____________________ early (v5)
  • God gives ____________ to the humble (v5) and __________________ them (v6)
  • Anxiety is opposite of ________ (v6-7)
  • Sober means (v8)
  • How is the Devil unlike God (v8)?
  • The Devil would ____________ me (v8)
  • I can __________ the Devil (v9, James 4:7)
  • Jesus gives ___________ (John 10:28)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

“The Burden is Too Heavy” (Numbers 11:1-35)

The biggest problem facing the church is hypocrisy. We saw last week how our local gatherings can so easily be infected. People ‘profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works,’ (Titus 1:16). Yes, we may say that we love God and believe in Jesus. But our actions say the opposite. We can be “Christians” who are loose with the truth, whose lives are ungodly, and who are always out for what we can get.

One way that our hypocrisy shows is when we grumble. But grumbling is one of those respectable sins. No one ever pulls us up on it. And anyway, when we grumble, it’s because we’re right!

Jesus says, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45). That’s God’s truth: You never say something you don’t mean! <PAUSE> So, what does grumbling say our hearts are full of?

Grumbling says, “I care more about my will than God’s will. My plans are better than His. My ways are better than His ways. We would all be better off if I was in charge, not God.” So, we need God’s Word and God’s grace to:

  1. Assess Our Grumbling (v1-15)
  2. Receive God’s Grace (v16-30)
  3. Fear God’s Judgement (v31-35)

Sunday 17th November 2019

Review questions:

  • What does grumbling say I believe (v1-6)?
  • Grumbling s__________________ like infection (v10)
  • We should look ___________________________ (v5)
  • Take your complaints to ________________ (v11)
  • ___________________ carries the church (v11, Exodus 19:4)
  • What does God promise (v18-20)?
  • God surrounds Moses with _______________-filled _________________________ (v16-17, 24-25)
  • The sin was ________________________ (v34)
  • My real religion is what I d_________________ with my heart (1 Corinthians 10:6, 14).
  • God tested Israel’s h_____________ & o__________________________ (Deuteronomy 8:2)
  • Jesus always ____________________________ the Father (Matthew 4:4, John 4:34; 6:38)
  • Jesus is the _____________of _________________ who gives ______________________ (John 6:35)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

 

“Put Things In Order” (Titus 1:1-16)

What is the biggest problem facing the Church?

It is unbelief? The rise of secularism and atheism? Creeping restrictions on religious freedom?

Maybe the problem is out style (of music, of presentation, of buildings)? Is it because our message is irrelevant? Or is it the issues exposed by the Royal Commission into abuse in religious institutions?

The Bible is clear: The biggest problem for the Church is hypocrisy. It is people who say they know God, but deny Him by their works (v16). So how can we face it?

  1. Believe the Promise: Truth Produces Godliness (v1-4)
  2. Acknowledge the Problem: Lies Produce Evil (v10-16)
  3. Implement the Solution: Place Elders in Every City (v5-9)

Sunday 10th November 2019

Review questions:

  • The church’s biggest problem is ______________________________________ (v16)
  • The only way to grow in godliness is to _____________________________ God’s word in _______________________ & obedience (v1, Mark 4:20)
  • What did God promise before time began (v2)?
  • If we don’t grow, we d______________ (Hebrews 2:1)
  • False teaching & false _____________________ing always go together (v16).
  • What are false Christians like (v12)?
  • Does “appoint” mean the minister chooses the elders (v5)? Yes/No
  • Blameless = _________________________________________ (v6-7)
  • Elders must ______________ their wives (Ephesians 5:28) & have ________________ful children (v6)
  • Maturity = managing __________________ (v7-8)
  • Teach __________________ doctrine, oppose ______________________________ (v9)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change: