Archive for August, 2012
The text for this lesson is Exodus 40.
- In the tabernacle, God dwelled with His people, cleansing them and making them holy through the blood of sacrifices. In Christ, God now dwells among us, cleansing us and making us holy through Jesus’ blood, shed for us on the cross.
- Law: My sin makes me unholy and separates me from God; I am unworthy to stand in His presence.
- Gospel: God cleanses me, makes me holy, and dwells in me through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.
- If you were given the task of designing a church and money were no object, what would you include in your plans? How would you convey God’s presence and holiness through the architecture and furnishings?
- In Exodus 40, God gives Moses a design for His house during the Israelites’ time in the wilderness. Read Exodus 40:1–8. Note that verses 1–5 are concerned with the arrangement of the inside of the tabernacle, and verses 6–8 are concerned with how the area around the tabernacle is arranged. What characteristics of God are emphasized in the design of the tabernacle? What items in and around the tabernacle would have had symbolic value, and why?
- Read Exodus 40:9–15. Why does God require that everything in the tabernacle be anointed? Why are Aaron and his sons anointed? What is to be “most holy,” and why?
- Read Exodus 40:16–33. What is the refrain, repeated eight times in these verses? Why this emphasis?
- Read Exodus 40:34–38. Why would God choose to reveal Himself as a cloud in the desert? Read Exodus 19:9 and 16–20. How did the people react to God’s presence? Why was Moses unable to enter the tent of meeting after the cloud settled on it? What does this emphasize about our relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ?
- Keep in mind all the symbolism of the tabernacle and the emphasis that God’s design for His dwelling place puts on the separation between the holy and the unholy. Read Mark 15:33–34. Why would Jesus have cried out those words? Read Mark 15:37–38. The curtain in the temple is the equivalent of the screen in the tabernacle. What does its tearing symbolize?
- The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has forever changed the relationship between God and His people. We are no longer separated. Where does God meet with His people today?
- What furnishings in the church best represent the truth that we are no longer separated from God? How do we reflect this in the way that we design our churches?
The text for this lesson is Titus 1:1–2:1; 1 Timothy 1:3–7; 3:1–7; 4:11–16.
- As God called Paul to the preaching office for the sake of His elect and their eternal life, so He also called Titus and the pastors Titus appointed in Crete as gifts to His Church.
- Law: Congregations sometimes fail to respect the pastors God has given them. Pastors must be willing and able to rebuke false doctrine and sinful lives, but pastors sometimes shirk these duties, and members sometimes resent when pastors do what they must.
- Gospel: When a pastor speaks the words of forgiveness of sins in Absolution or proclaims eternal life by Christ in the Gospel, it is as “certain, even in heaven, as if Christ our dear Lord dealt with us Himself” (Luke 10:16).Through His pastors, God speaks the Law to hardened sinners so that He can speak the Gospel of forgiveness to them when they repent.
- Paul lists the qualifications of a good pastor or overseer. What are they?
- How did God work through Paul and Titus, and how does He work through our pastors to care for His people?
- Read also 1 Timothy 4:11–16. In this passage, Paul explains to Timothy why a pastor should know and teach God’s Word. What he says applies to Titus and all pastors including ours. What does Paul say pastors should do? What does Paul say is the result? See verse 16.
- Read 1 Timothy 1:3–7. What does Paul say is the motivation of a pastor?
- In what ways do you think being a pastor might be a difficult job? What do you consider to be great blessings of being a pastor?
- Pastors are gifts of God’s grace. God has given us His Word. He expects faithful preaching and teaching of His Word. He assigns pastors a special responsibility in completing that task. Do pastors always perform their duties and live in their vocation as God expects? Can pastors always be blameless? How does God deal with them?
- Why is this called the Office of the Keys?
- How does God equip you for your role in His kingdom? (2 Timothy 3:14–17)
- Who among your family and friends needs to hear of the love and forgiveness Jesus has won for them on the cross? In what ways might you share the Gospel with that person?
The text for this lesson is 2 Timothy 1:1–7.
- Though Paul could speak of himself as Timothy’s spiritual father, God had actually raised Timothy in faith through instruction in the sacred Scriptures by his grandmother Lois and his mother, Eunice.
- Law: When children disobey or disrespect their parents, they are not only sinning against God, who gave them parents, but are also ignoring God’s primary means of bringing children to Himself.
- Gospel: Children receive the very gift of heaven when parents bring them to infant Baptism (Acts 2:38–39) and then nurture them in faith by telling them about Jesus and bringing them to His house (Proverbs 22:6).
- Who first taught you about Jesus?
- What do we know about Timothy’s religious background? (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15)
- Who are Lois and Eunice? Why were they important enough for Paul to mention to Timothy?
- What truth had Timothy learned from Scripture (2 Timothy 3:14–17)? According to these verses, how does Scripture offer practical instruction?
- Why is it so important that all of Scripture be inspired, or “God–breathed,” as Paul reminds Timothy (2 Timothy 3:16)? As a parent or friend speaking to another about his/her wrongdoing, how does the inspiration of Scripture help you?
- When Timothy was a child, mothers and grandmothers stayed home to raise children, and they lived in their vocation as a wife and mother. How are mothers today similar to and different from mothers of long ago?
- What do you think is the most important job a mom could have? Why is it so important for mothers (and fathers) to teach their children about Jesus?
- How do we get faith? What is the most important thing for us to learn in our life?
- In Ephesians 6:2, God promises well–being to children who respect their parents and other authorities. How can obeying authorities give well–being?
The text for this lesson is Acts 21:26–36
- God preserved Paul’s life from a mob through the intervention of His appointed servants, the Roman soldiers.
- Law: In our fallen world, crime and violence will always be a tragic reality.
- Gospel: Because we have been reconciled to God by Jesus’ cross, God does not abandon us to our senseless violence but graciously appoints governments to maintain peace and order through police and military forces.
- Why did the Jews try to kill Paul?
- Why and how did God spare Paul’s life on this day?
- What subtle forms of persecution may we or other Christians experience?
- How does enduring persecution share in the sufferings of Christ? (See Acts 5:41, Romans 8:17, and Philippians 3:10–11.)
- How can persecution actually serve to strengthen faith? (See Romans 5:3–5.)
- What doors has God opened to you in order for you to share the Good News of Jesus with others? How have you responded to these open doors? How might you more effectively share the Gospel with your neighbor?
- Why do we obey our government?
- How did God work through the humans in the Bible story to protect Paul so that Paul could continue in his vocation of proclaiming the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles?
- How does God work through people today to protect you and me?