Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Can We Know Yahweh Really Loves Us? (Malachi 1.1-5)

Scripture: Malachi 1.1-5
Translation: 1.1The oracle of the message of Yahweh to Israel by the hand of Malachi [My-Messenger]. 2“I have loved you,” Yahweh says. But you say, “How have You loved us?” Wasn’t Jacob’s brother Esau? —Yahweh’s proclamation—and I have loved Jacob. 3I have hated Esau, and I’ve made his mountains a wasteland and his inheritance a wilderness for jackals. 4If Edom says, “We were obliterated, but let’s go back and rebuild the ruins.” Yahweh of Armies says the following: “They may rebuild, but I will tear [it] down. They will call them a territory of wickedness, and the people that Yahweh cursed forever. 5And your eyes will see, and you will say, ‘May Yahweh be magnified beyond the territory of Israel.’”

1.      Structure:
a.       Whole Book
                                                              i.      Heading, 1.1
                                                            ii.      Case 1: Denial of God’s Love (1.2-5)
                                                          iii.      Case 2: Denial of Honor to God (1.6-2.9)
                                                          iv.      Case 3: Rejection of Godly Marriage (2.10-16)
1.      Part A: Undefensible: Marrying an Idol Worshiper
2.      Part B: Flagrant: Divorce/Adultery of the wife of their youth
                                                            v.      Case 4: Rejection of Justice (2.17-3.5)
                                                          vi.      Case 5: Rejection of Repentance and Tithing (3.6-12)
                                                        vii.      Case 6: Rejection of the Value of Serving God (3.13-15)
                                                      viii.      Exonerated: The Faithful (3.16-4.3 [heb. 3.16-21])
                                                          ix.      Closing Statements: (4.4-6 [heb. 3.22-24])
1.      Call to Obey (4.4 [heb. 3.22])
2.      Call to Wait (4.5-6 [heb. 3.23-24])
b.      Section: Case One
                                                              i.      Assertion: Yahweh says to Israel, “I love you”
                                                            ii.      Denial: “How have You loved us [implicit, “we can’t tell”]?”
                                                          iii.      Rebuttal: “I’ve loved you, and hated Esau, whom I’ve punished and destroyed, and will keep destroyed and shamed.
                                                          iv.      Conclusion: You will see and recognize Yahweh’s greatness.
2.      Themes
a.       Love vs. hate
b.      Justice/punishment
c.       saying
d.      law court
e.       destruction
f.       Sovereignty of Yahweh
1.      Outline:
a.       Yahweh is Sovereign and Involved (v.1, vv.2-5)
                                                              i.      Yahweh is the One Who gives the message, the One Who is speaking, but His mouthpiece is Malachi, His Messenger, which shows that God is in control,
                                                            ii.      But it also shows He is involved because He cares enough to send us a message and to use a human to communicate the message. God using Malachi actually shows us how much value He puts on us, not how little
                                                          iii.      Throughout the passage, there is an assumption that God is in control of all, that He can choose or not choose whoever He wants, that He can render justice however He wants, that He can show His love how He wants. The whole passage concludes with the people recognizing that Yahweh is Great everywhere, not just in Israel. He is totally and completely sovereign everywhere in every way.
b.      Yahweh truly loves us
                                                              i.      Sometimes we forget that God loves us, but here God tells us clear that He loves us as His people. He loves you. He loves our church. He loves our youth group. He loves our college ministry. He loves our adults, our kids, our whole church. But not just our church—He loves the churches around us too. He loves the Orchard, Hebron, KCC, Grace, Monte de Sion, Antioch, Willow Creek, Harvest, and not just Chicago churches, He loves churches all over America and even in Guatemala, which is why three of our missionaries are there right now.
                                                            ii.      Unfortunately, sometimes we are like Israel in this passage. We can’t see that God loves us. God tells us He loves us, but we tell Him that we can’t tell. I don’t know why exactly they had trouble believing that Yahweh loved them, but it may be because of the exile and harsh punishment and judgment they had just received.
                                                          iii.      However, Not seeing the love of God does not change the fact that God loves us. Sometimes we have trouble seeing it because we are hurting or distracted or scared, but the truth is that if you are in Christ, if you have put your whole faith in Jesus Christ, you are loved by God, loved like Christ Himself is loved.
c.       Yahweh’s Love is Revealed in His Great Grace and Election
                                                              i.      Yahweh chose to love Jacob, before they were born, before either had done anything good or evil.
                                                            ii.      Moreover, Israel received God’s grace and commitment, but Esau did not, instead only receiving His anger and judgment. Israel at the time the book was written was experience God’s grace, they had been brought back into the land, and the Temple had been rebuilt—God kept His promise, showing that they were loved, but they could not see it
                                                          iii.      We as Christians have also experienced God’s grace and mercy and election, and just as then it was all His doing, not because we deserved it.      
d.      Yahweh’s Love is Revealed in His Justice and Judgment
                                                              i.      Yahweh’s judgement did not prove the edomites were loved by God, but that the Jews were loved.
                                                            ii.      Sometimes we can’t see how much God loves us, because we are not really seeing the alternative ways that God could treat us. However, it is not merely the punishment God gave Esau that shows He was hated, because the Jews faced the same punishment, but rather it was the fact that the punishment was final, that there was no hope and not future for them. The Jews could always repent and come back to God and receive His mercy and grace, but the Edomites faced a permanent curse.
                                                          iii.      That you can always come to God and get mercy and grace is a wonderful expression of how much God truly loves you and us as church, we can always confess our sins and repent and enjoy God’s great grace afresh.
                                                          iv.      However, Yahweh’s love is also revealed and more revealed by the fact that He kept His promises to judge and curse Israel’s enemies. Yahweh showed He loved the Jews by giving them justice. One of the ways Yahweh wants to show you that He loves you is by giving you the justice you long for. He wants to avenge the wrongs done to you
                                                            v.      In a way, His love is revealed in how He uses His power and sovereignty in our favor
e.       Yahweh’s Love for us should cause us to glorify Him for Who He is
                                                              i.      The proper response to God’s love for us is not only emotional comfort and joy, but praise and worship to God
                                                            ii.      When we see God act on our behalf, and we have seen that in the biggest way possible on the Cross, we should respond by loving Him back for Who He is, by worshipping Him and recognizing that He is Awesome, that He is Sovereign everywhere.

                                                          iii.      We sometimes forget that He is in control of all things all the time everywhere, but when we see Him at work, we should remember that He truly is in control of all things

Monday, July 28, 2014

We Need the Church to Serve (Rom. 12.1-8)

Scripture: Romans 12.1-8
Translation: 12.1So, I urge you, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, to offer your bodies to God as as a living, holy, pleasing sacrifice, your reasonable service. 2And don’t be being conformed to this age; instead, be being transformed in the renewing of your mind in order that you can prove what the will of God is, the [will] that’s good and pleasing and perfect. 3You see, I’m saying to everyone who is among you by means of the grace given to me to not think more highly than what it is necessary to think, but to think in such as way as to think accurately, for each [of you] as God measured a measure of faith, 4because just as in one body we have many body-parts, and all the body-parts don’t have the same function, 5so we, the many, are one body in Christ, and as far as each one is concerned, [we are] the body parts of one another, 6having the different/distributed spiritual gifts according to the grace given to you, and if [you have] prophecy,  [use it] according to the proportion of faith, 7and if [you have] service, [act] in line with service, and if [you are] the one teaching, [act] in line with teaching, 8and if [you’re] the one urging/encouraging, [act] in line with urging/encouragement. The person sharing, [act] in line with generosity. The one leading, [act] in line with passion. The one showing mercy, [act] in line with cheerfulness.

1.      Structure
a.       Instruction Given
                                                              i.      Part 1: Offer your bodies as living sacrifices
                                                            ii.      Part 2:
1.      Negatively: Don’t be conformed to this age
2.      Positively: Be changed in your mind to prove for sure what God’s will is
b.      Instruction Explained
                                                              i.      Overall
1.      Negatively: like this age, don’t think about yourself too highly
2.      Positively: be transformed, think about yourself accurately
                                                            ii.      Specific reason to be humble and think about yourself accurately:
1.      Christians are one body, each part belonging to the others
2.      The body-parts of that one body have different functions
                                                          iii.      Implication of overall explanation and its specific basis: Use your spiritual gifts for the sake of the body as given by God
2.      Themes
a.       One Body with many body-parts
b.      Transformation vs. conformation
c.       Serving God/temple worship imagery
d.      Spiritual gifts
e.       Urging/encouragement
f.       Matching your actions with your gifts
3.      Doctrines
a.       The church is a unity with diversity in Christ
b.      God gives each Christian at least one special gift by the Holy Spirit
c.       Christian worship is not just about singing and hearing sermons and praying and hanging out, it is about living for God with your whole life
d.      Christians need to use their spiritual gifts when they are serving in their spiritual function, they need to use the gifts given to them in worship to God
e.       The will of God is good, pleasing, and perfect
f.       Christian transformation/sanctification involves the renewing of the mind

1.      Outline
a.       Live for God in General
                                                              i.      These first two versed need to apply to all areas of our lives, which includes our participation in the Body of Christ, we need to be doing this and having this happen not just at school or at home, but in the church. So, if you really want to give your whole life to God in worshipful service of Him, you will have to do that as it relates to the church too
b.      Live for God in the Church
                                                              i.      Paul actually clarifies that what He really wants to apply what he says in Rom. 12.1-2 to is how we think about ourselves as it relates to our gifting and function in the Body of Christ. In vv.9ff, Paul will actually go on to apply 12.1-2 to the church being a loving family and loving and humble group of people, and in ch.13 to how we interact with the government and rulers, and in ch.14-15 about how we respond to different convictions, values, or sensibilities in the church.
c.       Thus, you need the church to fully live for God (since totally living for God means living for God in and as a part of the church)…
                                                              i.      Because one of the ways you offer yourself to God as a living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice as act of service to God is by serving God’s people with the gifts He’s given you by His Holy Spirit
                                                            ii.      Because one of the ways that you don’t get conformed to this present age is by not thinking of yourself too highly as it relates to your spiritual gifts
                                                          iii.      Because one of the ways you get transformed in the renewing of your minds and know and do the will of God is by thinking correctly about yourself as it relates to the gifts and functions God gave you in the church
                                                          iv.      Because one of the ways you don’t get conformed to the world and get transformed in you thinking to do the will of God is by thinking about yourself as part of the body, and not merely as an individual, or not merely as a cell in a sea of corporate identity
1.      You don’t belong only to you, you belong to the Body
2.      You don’t only exist as random church members, but church members with specific gifts, roles, purposes, and functions.
d.      Related Questions:
                                                              i.      How do you use your spiritual gifts to serve God by serving the Church?
1.      Be humble, not cocky
2.      Know what your gifts are, don’t be ignorant or apathetic
3.      Use your Spiritual gifts to fulfill your function, not your own power or intelligence
                                                            ii.      What are the spiritual gifts?
1.      There are lots of spiritual gifts
2.      Some of them are:
a.       Prophecy
b.      Serving, administration of resources
c.       Teaching
d.      Preaching/urging
e.       Sharing
f.       Leading
g.      Being compassionate, caring for the poor
2.      Questions
a.       What do you think it would mean to offer your whole live to God as living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice? Name of few different areas of your life and talk about how you could live for God in those areas.
b.      In what ways do you feel like the world is pushing you to think and act the way it wants? How are the ways God wants you to think and act different? Be specific.
c.       What spiritual gifts and/or functions do you think you have in this church body? What about the global church?
d.      Do you feel like you have been serving and blessing our church and even the wider church with your life, or do you feel like you have been more focused on only your own personal desires and growth?
e.       Do you feel like you are a part of the church or are just an independent person who follows God?
f.       If you know what spiritual gifts God has given you, do you use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve the church or do you only use your own strength, intelligence, and skill?

1.      The appendix, it has a function, but for a long time no one was sure what it did, and in fact people still are not sure, but it does serve a purpose. For a long time, people thought that your tonsils were useless body parts, but now doctors try to avoid taking out your tonsils except for severe cases, because they are so important. In the same way, all of you are important, and other people and maybe even you yourself might not know yet what purpose you serve in the body, but God has placed you in the body for a reason, and we need you just like you need us.

2.      Esther, she is on missions serving the women, encouraging them and aiming to bring deep emotional healing into their lives, she may not realize it, but I see that she has been so gifted in that area. She does things that are so conducive to achieving her aims, and it comes naturally to her. And it comes naturally because the Holy Spirit is in her and working through her. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

We Need the Church to Grow (Eph. 4.11-16)

Scripture: Ephesians 4.11-16
Translation: 11And He gave the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers, 12for the sake of getting the holy people completely ready for the work of ministry, for the edification of the Body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the full-growth of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we won’t be babies any more, who get thrown around and carried around by every wind of teaching in accordance with the trickiness of men, in accordance with the deviousness aimed at the scamming of deception,  15and [so that] by being truthful, we will grow in love with respect to all things into Him, Who is the Head, Christ, 16from Whom the whole body that’s joined and united together through every ligament of support according to the in-working in a measure of each and every single body part achieves the growth of the body resulting in the edification of itself in love.

1.      Structure
a.       Eph. 4.7-16: Gifts to the Church
                                                              i.      Gifts to believers in the church
                                                            ii.      Fulfilling Scripture by Christ giving gifts
                                                          iii.      Gifts to the Church (vv.11-16)
1.      Extended

11And He gave the apostles,
                          and the prophets,
                          and the evangelists,
                          and the pastors and teachers,
12for the sake of getting the holy people completely ready for the work of ministry,
for the edification of the Body of Christ,
13until we all attain to the unity of the faith
                                                   and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
                               to a mature man,
                               to the measure of the full-growth of the fullness of Christ,
14so that we won’t be babies any more,
               who get thrown around
               and carried around by every wind of teaching
                          in human trickiness,
                          in deviousness aimed at the deceptive scamming,
15and [so that] by being genuine in love, we will grow with respect to all things into Him,
Who is the Head,
16from Whom the whole body       \/ \/ \/                     achieves the growth of the body
that’s joined
and united together through every supporting ligament
according to the in-working in a measure of each and every single body part
resulting in the edification of itself in love.

2.      Simplified
A         Main action:    Jesus gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers
B         Main intention:
Negatively: so that we wouldn’t be immature and duped into false teaching
Positively: so that we would grow into Christ to become fully mature and loving
2.      Themes
a.       Love
b.      Growth, maturity, perfection,
c.       Body/Body Parts
d.      Gifts
e.       Church
f.       Delegation/training/equipping
g.      Truth vs. deception
h.      Edification
i.        The Parts and The Whole
3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is generous and gives the church not just individual gifts but corporate gifts
b.      Jesus wants His Body to be healthy, mature, and growing
c.       Pastors are not supposed to do everything, they are supposed to get the church ready to do everything
d.      All believers should benefit from all other believers, that is all believers have ministry to do

1.      You need the church to grow, because you need pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets,
a.       It’s kind of awkward for me to preach this, but the truth is you need the church, because you can only get pastored in the church. In fact, the church as a whole, Christians in general would not grow into mature Christians or in a mature Body of Christ without the gifts that Jesus gave to the church, the gifts are the people He gave, the Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
b.      God have me, and others like me and others with different callings than me to the church for the sake of the church growing to become strong, healthy, and mature. You need these people, so that you don’t get sucked up into bad and blasphemous theology and lies and deceivers
c.       But He didn’t just give me and others like me to protect you and make sure you don’t stay baby Christians forever, but so that I can help you and me together grow as the church in loving one another and becoming mature in every way, in resembling Jesus in all aspects of our church and lives.
d.      But the way that Jesus made us, and the way He wants us to do that, is not by doing everything on our own. Or just leading the charge, per se, but by equipping you and training you and getting you ready to do the work that Jesus wants you to do by the Holy Spirit for God’s Glory.
e.       My job is not to do all your jobs. My job is to help you know what your jobs are and how God wants you to do your jobs and how you can maybe even get better at your job. A pastor is not a one many band, He is a music teacher or conductor
f.       For the record, apostle is not a role you can have today, regardless of what some people want to call themselves, and regardless of whether they can do miracles or not, it is a well established Christian understanding that while there are in some respects people who can be understand to have replaced the apostles, they are not apostles. Apostles were special men called personally by Jesus in the flesh to preach the Gospel and start the church, not start churches, but start the church!
2.      You need the church to grow, because you need other readied believers
a.       The whole point of Jesus giving the church pastors and teachers and evangelists and prophets and the apostles was for you and me to get prepared by those men to serve Jesus in a ministry, and ministry that will include ministry for the saints
b.      Sometimes when you are young like you are, in middle school, highschool, or even in college, it is easy to let pressure, and what other people think about you or about Jesus, or even sometimes what you think would be cool or impressive keep you from embracing how God has created you, and the ministry Jesus has give you, and the gifts the Holy Spirit is empowering in you. look, I know, I was in Junior High too at one point, and I let what I thought would be cool, and what I thought I wanted to do control me far too much. Maybe you’re really outgoing and people love you, but people mock you for it, or someone you think is cool is not like that, embrace being who God made you, do your ministry.
c.       And it is true that all of you, all of us, have ministry to do both outside and inside the church. Now while you may have a different ministry to do at different times in your life, God has called each of you to tell people about Jesus and help bring them into the family. So, today in small group, there will be two questions, one will ask you to talk about whether you feel like you have been prepared and are ready to go tell people about Jesus, invite them to church, etc.; and the other question will be whether you feel called to a particular ministry, and how I can help you get ready to do it, if you’re not ready yet, and how I can help you get better at it, if you can do it, but you want to get really good at it.
d.      You need the church, because you need to be ministered to by other believers. You need them to serve you, to encourage you, to strengthen you, to teach you, etc. you can become a mature Christian without other Christians, Jesus has structured the Christian life to require us to benefit from one another.
3.      You need the church to grow, because you are part of the church
a.       You are not just an individual believer, you are that, but you are more than that too. You are a believer that is part of a bigger whole, called the church. You cannot grow in all areas of your spiritual life and development by being alone—some you have to be alone for, but not all. Because on a deep, deep level of your being you are connected to something bigger, something greater and more alive than you are on your own.
b.      You are like a cell, it is alive and it does lots of things on its own, but it is not the body all by itself, and it actually can’t live by itself either, it is totally dependent on many other systems and cells for much of its survival.
c.       You can’t be a person who is growing in what it means to be a part of the body, if you are not a part of the body
4.      Questions
a.       Do you feel ready to share the Good News with your friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers and others? If so, what are you doing to share the good news? If not, what could the leaders do to help you get ready and do it?
b.      Do you feel called to a specific kind of ministry inside the church? If so, what is it? And how can the leaders help you to do it or get better at it? If not, what kind of ministry would you like to try out?
c.       Do you feel like you are growing in your spiritual life right now? how could the leaders help you grow more? how could other church members help you?
d.      What would you like to do as a group in the coming weeks and months, in terms of fun stuff, service projects, or evangelism opportunities, or some other cool stuff?
e.       What would you like to have sermons on in the Fall? What about for Bible Studies? Or training for different ministries?


1.      I knew this girl, she was always really happy and smiling, it was great. She was blessed with a happy disposition, and that was a beautiful thing, but people always got on her case for being happy and smiling all the time. Today, I don’t know if she still smiles all the time, but I’ve seen plenty of people who stop acting and even being happy around people, just because of what other people are saying. And that is actually a terribly sad thing. I mean really, what’s wrong with being happy. Seriously, just because you’re not happy, doesn’t mean you should get annoyed at people who are. In fact, a couple weeks ago, we talked about that, Christians celebrate when people are celebrating. Don’t take your hard situation out on others, invite them into your hard situation so that they can empathize and grieve with you, but don’t crush their joy so you can feel better about yourself. Uh…selfish much…no?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

We Need the Church to Endure (Heb. 10.19-25)

Scripture: Hebrews 10.19-25
Translation: 19So, brothers and sisters, because we have boldness by Jesus’ blood into the way in to the Holy Places, which new and living way through the curtain He inaugurated for us, that is of His flesh, 21and [because we have] a great priest over God’s house, 22we should approach with a genuine heart in certainty of faith, truly cleansing the hearts from an evil conscience and truly washing the body with clean water! 23We should hold on tight to the confession of the hope without wavering, because the One Who promised is faithful. 24And we should think about one another for the purpose of an instigation of love and good works, 25[which means] don’t abandon the meeting up of ourselves, just as is a habit of some, instead urge [it], and as much more as you see the day getting close. 

1.      Structure
a.       Larger
b.      More specific
19So, brothers and sisters,
because we have boldness by Jesus’ blood into the way in for the holy people,
which new and living way through the curtain He inaugurated for us,
that is through His flesh,
21and [because we have] a great priest over God’s house,
22we should approach with a genuine heart in certainty of faith,
truly cleansing the hearts from an evil conscience
and truly washing the body with clean water!
23We should hold on tight to the confession of the hope without wavering,
because the One Who promised is faithful.
24And we should think about one another for the purpose of an instigation of love and good works,
25[which means] don’t abandon the meeting up of ourselves,
just as is a habit of some,
instead urge [it],
and so much more as much as you see the day getting close.
c.       Rhetorically
                                                              i.      Because of two things Jesus is for us
1.      A way to God
2.      A Great Priest
                                                            ii.      Do three things
1.      Approach God with a genuine trusting heart
2.      Hold on to our confession of hope
3.      Come up with ways to love more and do more good works
2.      Themes
a.       Way/path/road to God
b.      Jesus is our Great High Priest
c.       Faith
d.      Hope
e.       Love
f.       Good works
g.      Cleansing, washing
h.      Cohortative tone
i.        Being a part of the church, communal tone
j.        Return of Jesus
3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is our way to God, and our Great High Priest representing us before God
b.      The church is a central part of the Christian life
c.       Faith, hope, and love are some of the foundational Christian virtues
d.      Jesus is coming back!
e.       As Christians, we should continue to respond to what Jesus has done for us

1.      Outline
a.       Our Motivation to be the church together comes from what Jesus is for us
                                                              i.      We want to be the Church because Jesus is our Way to God
                                                            ii.      We want to be the Church together because Jesus is our Great High Priest
1.      Jesus not only gets us to God, He facilitates our interactions with God, Jesus makes our relationship with God a wonderful and happy one
2.      He is like our defense attorney
b.      Our Response to Jesus as a Church together comes naturally from Who Jesus is for us
                                                              i.      We come to God in absolute faith with genuine hearts,
1.      because Jesus as our Great High Priest cleansed our hearts and washed our bodies
a.       this has to do with forgiveness, repentance, and baptism—Jesus got rid of our dirtiness and junk, and made us part of a new community
b.      however, it is also true, and the Greek is somewhat ambiguous about Who is doing what here (that is, it may be that the emphasis is on our response to Jesus, rather than Jesus’ action for us), that we cleansed our hearts from an wicked conscience and washed our bodies in baptism, which is a way of saying that we repented from our evil ways of thinking and acting when we turned to Christ in faith and got baptized.
2.      This we do because of what Jesus has done
3.      But we also do this together, we come to God together, we worship God through Jesus together. We don’t come to God in sure faith only on our own, we come to God with sure faith together as well, and especially together at times
                                                            ii.      We hold on to our Christian commitment together to put our hope in God without wavering
1.      On top of the fact that Jesus is representing us, is the fact that God is faithful, we know that His promises will be kept
2.      Being a Christian has always meant openly admitting that you are with Jesus and hoping in His return and His work for you
3.      This is something we do in front of one another and together with one another, being a Christian means being a part of the Christian community.
4.      Moreover, we need to be this community, we need to support and strengthen one another in the faith and in the hope. The truth is, one of the reasons that some of your friends will go away to college and ditch Jesus, is not just because their faith was not genuine or strong, but because one of the most important things that people should do to get ready for college is look up and find out where the good and solid Gospel preaching churches are, because we need to be a part of the community, because the church helps us to hold on and maintain through trials the faith that God has graciously given to us.
                                                          iii.      We think about how to pump each other up to love more and do more good
1.      This actually is a very natural response to Jesus being our Way to and High Priest before God, because Jesus loved us and did good things for us, so we should naturally be trying to imitate His example, on top of the fact that we want to go to God with love and good works to offer Him as a sacrifice, plus, although Jesus certainly can and will and in fact already has offered our one and only needed sacrifice before God, when He died on the cross, do we really want Him to always have to defend us, wouldn’t it be nice if He didn’t have to beg for us so often, that is to say, while Jesus’ dead covered and removed all our sins, do we want to treat Jesus with contempt by taking advantage of His love and good works for us?
2.      This actually requires us to keep meeting up together,
a.       The truth is this is an easy habit to lose, and a harder one to gain, especially when life is crazy.
3.      This actually requires us to interact with each other, urging one another to be a part of the church
4.      This actually should be more and more important to us
a.       We sometimes think it is not more important, but in fact it should be getting more and more important. Sometimes we think that when Jesus comes back all our troubles will end, so if He is getting back soon, then we don’t need the church as much. But that is not completely true, because while Jesus will be back soon, He wants us ready and waiting with gifts of love and good works to give to Him and God, our rewards are dependent on our conduct, which means that Jesus coming back soon shortens the amount of time we have to accrue eternal rewards for ourselves.
2.      All in all, in a way, not embracing being part of the church and responding to what Jesus has done for us in the three ways this passage describes, is really a surrendering of blessings intended for us by Christ, as well as a devaluing of Christ, by devaluing what He has given us and how He has structured for a response. In other words, saying, “I want to enjoy Jesus and what He provides, but I don’t want to do it the way He wants me to,” is a way of saying that what Jesus gave us as His Own expense was not good enough. That is ungrateful, as well as arrogant, since it assumes that we know better than Jesus was true goodness and joy really looks like, we assume we know what is better for us than Jesus
3.      Questions
a.       Jesus being our Way to God and our Great High Priest is our motivation to do the things this passage calls us to do, how motivating is it? Does Jesus’ role motivate you for anything else?
b.      Is it easier for your to come to God on your own or together with the Church?
c.       How do you think you could help a brother or sister stay committed to God, to their confession of hope in Jesus?
d.      Have you ever thought about how you could help a brother or sister or the church as a whole love more and do more good?
e.       Evaluate your church participate habits. How strong is your commitment to be at church? What tends to overrule that commitment? What about our church makes it difficult to be here? What solutions can you offer?
f.       Do you think about Jesus’ coming a lot? What does it motivate you to do?

1.      I used to drive on division street when I lived downtown when I would come back from church. The only problem was that Division Street was a nightmare to drive down. It was totally decrepit. It was filled with uneven pavement and potholes. I would be driving along this road at night, it was filled with stop lights too, and it was hard and difficult, and I was always worried I was going to ruin my car. However, there was also the Ohio Street exit, and it was actually a little be past where I lived, so I would be wasting a little gas and time if I wanted to take that road, but you know what, I almost always took the Ohio Street exit, and do you know why? It was because the Ohio Street exit was a newer way that was better for the life of my car. Jesus is a sort of like the Ohio Street exit, He is New and Alive, He is the path to God that because it is so good, it makes us want to take it. But you see, Jesus is not exactly like the Ohio street exit, because there was always only one way to God, and what Jesus really is is Division street new, resurfaced, and alive! Because there is only one way to God, it is not that Jesus is the best way or the easiest way, no, Jesus is the only way! In our culture, it is convenient and advised to consider Jesus just one of many possible options, but the truth is Jesus is not a way to God, He is the Only Way to God. And it is just icing on the cake that He is not just the Only Way, but the kind of Way that makes us want to use it!

2.      Jesus being our Great High Priest is kind of like Him being our Great Defense Attorney. He represents us and keeps us out of jail, pays our fines and represents us well