Parents, are you able?

“Able” parents seem to be upset when children demonstrate over and over again that what they need is to be parented! If you walk down the hallway mad because your children need correction again, you’re mad because at that moment they need what every human being constantly needs: a parent’s care. But if you walk down that hallway confessing your need of the Father’s care, it is more likely that you will embrace the need of your children for the same care, and you’ll be tender as you give it.

-Paul Tripp, Parenting, 37

Discuss Acts 2:22-24

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Why is it necessary to believe in Jesus? Why is belief in God not enough for salvation?
  3. What part does repentance for sin play in salvation? Is repentance necessary, secondary, or unnecessary?
  4. Why do the preachers in Acts keep referring to Jesus being from Nazareth? See Acts 2:22; 3:3; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 22:8; 24:5; 26:9.
  5. What do you believe about Jesus’ miracles? Were the stories made up? Was Jesus just a good magician-faker? Do the miracles demonstrate to you the power of God?
  6. How do you reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?
  7. In what sense did you cause Jesus’ crucifixion?
  8. Why is it necessary to remember that God planned your redemption through Christ’s death?
  9. According to Acts 2:42, why did the Father raise Jesus from the dead? What are the implications of this truth for your life?
  10. How do you feel when you think about your own impending death? What does the resurrection of Jesus say to your hopes and fears?

Matthew 2 and Acts 2:22-24

Our daily Bible reading for today (6/22) makes a solid connection with our sermon text for tomorrow (6/23). Our daily new testament reading is Matthew 2.

First, Herod’s concern about the birth of a king demonstrates the expectation that the messiah will be a ruler. Matthew 2:2 points to the king of the Jews, verse 4 explains that the king of the Jews is the Christ, and verse 6 anchors both references to Micah 5:2 and the understanding that the Messiah-King will rule and shepherd the people of Israel. I make this point because Peter labors in his Pentecost sermon to show the people that the crucified and resurrected Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah-King they desire.

The hometown of Nazareth plays a prominent role in the sermons of Acts. Acts 2:22, Jesus is “Jesus of Nazareth.” Matthew 2:23, Joseph moved his son to Nazareth to fulfill the prophecy, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

The connections are there and obvious, but why do they matter? First, Scripture is telling one central story; it is the story of redemption through Jesus. Read your Bible everyday looking for these legitimate connections. Second, the more you understand about the person and work of Jesus, the more trustworthy he becomes. Connecting all of Scripture is not simply a mental exercise but is a faith-building pursuit. Read your Bible everyday looking for Jesus and read your Bible everyday looking for fuel for your faith.

Discuss Acts 2:14-21

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Did you are receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? How do you know?
  3. What objections have you heard to Christianity? What are some good answers and how can you tie those answers to the gospel?
  4. Does it bother you that the “last days” have lasted nearly 2,000 years? What still must happen before Jesus returns?
  5. The possession of the Spirit for life and holiness is the mark of a Christian. Where do you see the Spirit working in your life? See Galatians 5:19-24 for help.
  6. If you are a Christian, in what since are you a prophet and a priest? See 1 Peter 2:9.
  7. The Holy Spirit empowers every Christian to witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Who do you know that needs to hear more about Jesus?
  8. Read Luke 21:25-28. What role to signs play in the return of Christ?
  9. What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord and why must a person call upon the name of the Lord?
  10. When you think about following Jesus, what are you afraid of? Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to teach you through the Word and give you strength.

Theology Thursday- The Trinity

Theology-Thursday

Each week I consider picking up another topic for “Theology Thursday”, but each week I come across another strong and heartening aspect of our glorious Triune God. Here is our focus for today, Acts 2:33,

Therefore being exalted to right right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear (NKJV).”

Consider what this verse means if there is only one person in the Godhead: God exalted himself to the right hand of himself while simultaneously giving himself to himself and receiving himself from himself. God then poured himself out on Pentecost.

The denial of the Trinity is untenable. The embrace of the Trinity is glorious.

The Father exalted his Son from greatest shame to the place of highest honor. In love, the Father gave the Son the authority to gift his redeemed people with his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that unites us to the Son so that we are warmly welcome in the presence of the Father is the gift from the Father to the Son to us.

May the Spirit lead us away from fear and into faith as we cry out to our heavenly Father who cares for us (Romans 8:15).

And They will Prophecy- Acts 2:18

This seems to be an umbrella-use of the verb ‘to prophecy’. As Luther put it, ‘prophesying, visions and dreams are all one thing’. That is, the universal gift (the Spirit) will lead to a universal ministry (prophecy). Yet the promise is surprising because elsewhere in Acts- and in the New Testament generally – only some are called to be prophets. How then shall we understand a universal prophetic ministry? If in its essence prophecy is God speaking, God making himself known by his Word, then certainly the Old Testament expectation was that in New Covenant days the knowledge of God would be universal, and the New Testament authors declare that this has been fulfilled through Christ (Jer 31:34; 1 Thess 4:9; 1 John 2:27). In this sense all God’s people are now prophets, just as all are also priests and kings. So Luther understood prophecy here as ‘the knowledge of God through Christ which the Holy Spirit kindles and makes to burn through the word of the gospel’, while Calvin wrote that it ‘signifies simply the rare and excellent gift of understanding’. In fact, it is this universal knowledge of God through Christ by the Spirit which is the foundation of the universal commission to witness (Acts 1:8). Because we know him, we must make him known.

John Stott, The Message of Acts, 74.

Discuss Acts 2:1-13

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Tell the story of the Bible using these categories creation, fall, redemption promised, redemption accomplished, redemption applied, and redemption consummated.
  3. What was the significance of Pentecost before Acts 2?
  4. Why was Pentecost an appropriate time to pour out the blessings of the new covenant?
  5. When reading the Bible, what is the difference in something being described and something being prescribed?
  6. When the Spirit came upon Jesus in Luke 3:21-23, there was no fire, no wind, and Jesus did not speak in tongues. Does that mean Jesus is less than other Christians who speak in tongues? Why?
  7. Why do we and the disciples need the Holy Spirit? Why is education and theological content not enough?
  8. What three signs in Acts 2:1-13 marked the inauguration of the age of the Holy Spirit? Where do we see these signs elsewhere in the Bible?
  9. According to Acts 1:8, why was the Holy Spirit given to the disciples?
  10. Commit to praying that our VBS teachers will be faithful witnesses to the gospel and the Holy Spirit will work through them to save souls.
  11. How could Holy Spirit empowered love and hope make you a powerful witness to your neighbors and coworkers?
  12. Pray and ask your heavenly Father to give you the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)