A Riddle of a Fable

Ezekiel, Sermon Preparation, Sermons

The sermon for the next Lord’s Day morning service will focus on Ezekiel 17.  During the upcoming week, you can prepare for the sermon with the following readings.

Monday – Ezekiel 17
What is the fable of the eagles, cedar, and vine about? How does this relate to the relationship of God and his people? Why might the Lord use these literary devices here?

Tuesday – 2 Kings 23:36-25:26; Ezekiel 17:19-21
Here is a historical account of what Ezekiel’s fable describes. Who is responsible for this just calamity befalling Judah? Was it Zedekiah? Nebuchadnezzar? Or the Lord?

Wednesday – 2 Chronicles 36:1-21; Jeremiah 37; Ezekiel 17:22-24
How did Judah sin against the Lord by chasing after worldly powers for help and salvation? What are ways we are tempted to do similarly in our day? How do God’s words through Ezekiel apply to you?

Thursday – Judges 9; Matthew 26:52
Here is another parable of leaders as trees—what similarities are there to what Judah did centuries later? What lessons are there for us in these accounts?

Friday – Psalm 29; Isaiah 11:1-5; Daniel 4:18-37; Mark 4:30-34
Why do you think trees were often used as images for kings in the Bible and the Ancient world? How does that inform your understanding of Ezekiel 17 and what it ultimately looks forward to

Saturday – Jeremiah 9:23-24; Ezekiel 17:23-24; Acts 13:13-39; James 4
How does the gospel of Jesus who was high, yet was “brought low” call us to be humble that he might lift us up? What are some specific and practical ways we can “humble ourselves before the Lord” today, this week, this year?

A Call to Failure

Ezekiel, Sermon Preparation

MondayEzekiel 2:1-3:15
Some commentators argue from chapters 1-3 that Ezekiel is a reluctant prophet (like Jonah). What do you think? Did Ezekiel have reasons to be reluctant? How is his call to an “impossible” task like some of God’s callings on your life?

TuesdayIsaiah 6, Revelation 1
How are the callings of Isaiah and John to be prophets similar to Ezekiel’s? How are they different? Why do you think?

WednesdayEzekiel 3:4-21; Hebrews 13:7-18
How is the hardness of Israel in exile a warning to us in the church of Jesus Christ today? What are some specific ways we can avoid being like the Israelites here?

ThursdayMark 8:31-38; 9:31; 10:33-34, 45; 13:24-27; 14:62
In light of Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 1 and his call as “Son of Man,” how should that shape the way we understand Jesus’ self -identification as “the Son of man”? Why is this such good news for us?

FridayPsalm 137
This psalm powerfully expresses the emotions of exile, even graphically wishing the abuse of Israel’s oppressors fall back on their own heads (v. 9). How might the experience of exile hard- ened Israel in their rebellion against God? How might their experience contribute to the difficulty of Ezekiel’s calling? How might God’s call of Ezekiel to prophecy to rebellious Israel be a powerful evidence of his grace?

SaturdayLuke 3:21-22; 4:1-30
Compare the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as the final prophet to Ezekiel’s. How are they similar and different? Why do you think? How can this comparison help you know and love Jesus more today?

Living to Please God

I Thessalonians, Sermon Preparation

February 21, 2016 – Morning Worship

MondayI Thessalonians 4 (esp. vss. 1-2); Exodus 22
Read these passages. What instructions do you see there for living the Christian life?

TuesdayI Thessalonians 4:1, 10; Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1-16; II Peter 3:18; Ezra 7:10
Again we see that the Christian life is to be a life of continual growth (“do so more and more”!). How does that apply to you?

WednesdayI Thessalonians 4:1; Genesis 17:1-14; Exodus 25:8, 22; Joshua 1:9; John 10:1-21; 15:1-11
The Christian life is, first of all, a relationship between God and His people. How does that amazing truth help us live lives pleasing to God?

ThursdayI Thessalonians 4:1; Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 7:12; 8:1; Psalm 119:59-60; John 14:21; II Corinthians 5:9; Ephesians 4:20-24; 5:10; Colossians 1:9-10
The Christian life is a life determined to please God: a conscious, intentional, willing, joyful desire to please our heavenly Father more and more as we grown in our faith in Christ. What is the application to you?

FridayI Thessalonians 1:5; 2:13; Psalm 119:1-16; I Kings 22:13-14; Matthew 7:24-27; II Timothy 3:14-16
To live lives pleasing to God is to know, love, delight in, and obey his word—the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. How does your life reflect this truth?

SaturdayI Thessalonians 4:2; Galatians 1:11-12; Deuteronomy 18:15- 18; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 53:4-6; John 17:3; Philippians 3:7-11
Ultimately, lives pleasing to God are lives focused on, loving and trusting in, the Lord our Savior Jesus Christ. He truly is our “all in all.” What is the application to your daily life?

Ezekiel: A Man with a Message for Our Time

Ezekiel, Sermon Preparation

February 14, 2016 – Morning Worship

MondayEzekiel 1

What is the significance of God appearing to Ezekiel in exile in Babylon? Why might the vision of God’s glory (v. 28) be so important for the exiles? For you?

TuesdayEzekiel 1:3; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:16-21

What is the significance of the Word of the Lord coming to Ezekiel and the exiles? How does his Word come to us today? What ought that mean for us?

WednesdayEzekiel 2; 3:16-27

Consider Ezekiel’s call from God. If you were Ezekiel would you feel that you were being called to a successful and prosperous ministry, or to a failing endeavor? How might this apply to how you view God’s calling on your life? The church’s calling?

ThursdayEzekiel 11

This passage is a great snapshot of God’s message through Ezekiel — both warning of judgment for sin but also promise grace and forgiveness to those of faith? How do both of these messages apply to you, and how can they change your life today?

FridayEzekiel 37; Philippians 3:12-21

How does the promise of resurrection foreshadowed in Ezekiel’s vision and inaugurated by Jesus Christ empower our life as “aliens and exiles” in this world? How should it shape our thinking about our possessions, our relationships, our fears, our dreams, our careers?

SaturdayEzekiel 10:18-22; 11:22-25; 43:1-12; Mark 11:1-19; 13:1-2; 14:26

Ezekiel sees a vision of God’s glory departing and pausing on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem (Mt. Olives) and then departing. Later he sees the glory return to a newly promised greater temple? How do we see all this fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and how ought it make us view him as our God and Savior?

Timothy’s Good News

I Thessalonians, Sermon Preparation

January 24, 2016 – Morning Worship

MondayI Thessalonians 1-3 (focus on 3:6-10)

Read chapters 1-3 of I Thessalonians to refresh your memory as we return to our series through Paul’s epistle. How does I Thessalonians 3:6-10 illustrate Proverbs 25:25?

TuesdayI Thessalonians 2:17-3:5; Acts 15:36; Nehemiah 1:1-11; II Corinthians 8:1-5

What was Paul so desperate to find out (“when we could bear it no longer”)? Why? What is the application for you?

WednesdayI Thessalonians 1:8-10; 2:7-12; 3:6-8; Romans 16:13; Psalm 19:7-11; John 13:1; 21:15-17

I Thessalonians 3:6 has two reasons for Paul to be greatly encouraged by Timothy’s report. What are they? What does that teach us about the gospel and Christian ministry?

ThursdayI Thessalonians 3:8; Deuteronomy 7:1-16; Psalm 73:25-26; Philippians 1:3-11

“For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” Paul’s life, his greatest joy and happiness, is clearly connected to the spiritual health of the Thessalonian church. Why do you think that is? What is the application to you?

FridayI Thessalonians 3:9; Luke 2:10; Psalm 4:7; 21:6; 30:4-5; 92:4; John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13; I John 1:4

Paul is full of joy when he hears Timothy’s good news about the Thessalonians—because to know and serve Christ brings great joy. Is that your experience? Why or why not?

SaturdayI Thessalonians 3:10; Colossians 4:2-4; Luke 18:1-8; Acts 18:24-28; Galatians 2:11-14

Timothy’s good news gave Paul renewed zeal in his prayers so that he could visit the Thessalonians and make up for what was lacking in their faith. How might that apply to your life?

Great Joy to You and Me

Luke, Sermon Preparation

January 17, 2016 – Morning Worship

MondayLuke 1:46-47; 2:8-38 (esp. v. 10); Matthew 1:1-12; Isaiah 53:1-12

See how much joy there is in the Christmas story. Why is that? What is the application for you?

TuesdayLuke 2:10; Isaiah 2:1-5; 56:1-11; Zechariah 8:20-23; Mat- thew 28:18-20

Christ’s birth: “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” How should that affect our relationships with others?

WednesdayLuke 2:10; Psalm 9:14; 35:9; 43:4; 73:25-26; Romans 5:11; Philippians 3:1; 4:4

Our true joy is found in the Lord, God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! This is what is most important to understand as Christians. Why?

ThursdayLuke 2:10; Psalm 16; 21:6; 23; 84; Acts 5:40-42; Romans 8:28, 37-39

Joy, for the Christian, is always present. That is why Paul can say “rejoice in the Lord always.” Joy transcends our circumstances. Why is that? Is that your experience?

FridayMatthew 1:21; Luke 1:46-47; 2:11; Leviticus 16; Matthew 9:5-6; Romans 3:9-31

We also are joyful because of the glorious gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ through faith alone. Why does that lead to such joy?

SaturdayPsalm 36:7-9; 103; 116; Philippians 3:7-11

Would those around you say that you are a joyful Christian? Why or why not? What could you do to be more joyful?

The Paradox of Christ’s Birth

Luke, Sermon Preparation

December 20, 2015 – Morning Worship

MondayLuke 2:1-20

What are the paradoxes (mysteries) of Christ’s birth? Are there any personal applications?

TuesdayLuke 2:7; Exodus 3:7-12; 4:10-13; I Samuel 16:10-11; Luke 19:35-40; Philippians 2:5-8

The King of Kings, the Lord of Glory, the Son of God Jesus Christ who is born in a manger and enters Jerusalem on a donkey! Paradox? What is the application to you?

WednesdayLuke 2:7; Matthew 8:18-22; 19:16-22; John 1:11; Isaiah 30:8-17

There is a sense in which we could say Jesus was “homeless” – Israel, like Bethlehem, had no place for him. How does that apply to our world? To the church? To you?

ThursdayLuke 2:8-20; Ezekiel 16:1-14; Luke 19:1-10; John 4:1-30

The announcement of Christ’s birth by the angels comes first to lowly shepherds. This too, is an amazing paradox. Why? How is that an encouragement to you? To everyone?

FridayLuke 1:26-38; 2:15-20; Psalm 119:10-48

What can we learn from Mary and the shepherds with regard to how we should respond to the announcement of Christ’s birth? The gospel? How to celebrate Christmas? How to respond to God’s word?

SaturdayLuke 1:19-20; Joshua 1:7-8; Psalm 1:1-2; 119:97-112

Mary “pondered these things in her heart” and the shepherds “returned praising God for all they had seen and heard.” What is the application to you?

The Name Jesus

Matthew, Sermon Preparation

December 7, 2015 – Morning Worship

MondayMatthew 1:18-25; 9:1-8; Romans 3:9-20, 23; Psalm 14:1-3

“You shall call His name Jesus—for He will save His people from their sins.”

TuesdayMatthew 1:20-21; Luke 1, 2

In these passages describing the birth of Christ and the surrounding events, notice the work of the angels. How important are they to the coming of Christ? What do they do? What is their work? What is their message?

WednesdayMatthew 1:18-25; Psalm 103; Luke 19:1-10

If, during the Christmas season, we focused more on the name of “Jesus” and what it means (i.e. “Jehovah is salvation”) how might that change the celebration of and under- standing of Christ’s birth—the reason for the season?

ThursdayMatthew 1:22-23; 3:1-2; Isaiah 7:10-25; John 1:14; Romans 11:22; Hebrews 10:31; 12:28-29

“They shall call His name Immanuel” which means God with us. Is this a good thing? Why?

Friday –  Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 53; I Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16

Jesus is always with us—in joy and in sorrow and in temptation. How should that wonderful truth encourage you in your daily life?

SaturdayMatthew 1:22-23; Deuteronomy 9:1-3; Joshua 1:1-9; Isaiah 41:10; Ephesians 6:10-20; James 4:7

Jesus is also with us in our spiritual warfare against Satan. How should that give us confidence and courage to face our adversaries—the world, the flesh and the Devil—specifically in our daily lives?

Persistent and Practical Care

I Thessalonians, Sermon Preparation

November 22, 2015 – Morning Worship

MondayI Thessalonians 2:17-3:5; Acts 17:1-10;; Romans 1:8-15; I Corinthians 9

How would you characterize Paul’s concern for the churches under his care? What is the application for you?

TuesdayI Thessalonians 2:7-12, 17-19; John 11:1-44; 13:1 Romans 9:1-3; Deuteronomy 7:6-8

Notice the deep affection that God has for His people; the love Jesus has for His disciples and the deep feeling that Paul has for the Thessalonian believers. How should that affect our daily lives?

WednesdayI Thessalonians 2:17-3:5; Deuteronomy 4; James 2:14-26; I John 3:18

See that intense feelings and even encouraging words are important but not enough. They must be accompanied by “actually doing” – “making every effort” to live out our faith in Christ. What is the personal application for you?

ThursdayI Thessalonians 2:18; Acts 17:10;; Numbers 16; Matthew 12:22-32

Notice that the Apostle Paul was not alone in facing opposition and experiencing persecution. What are the lessons for us as Christians? For the church?

FridayI Thessalonians 2:19-20; Acts 9:15; II Corinthians 1:12-14; Ephesians 3:7-13; Philippians 4:1

What does Paul mean in I Thessalonians 2:19-20 that the Thessalonian Christians were his hope or joy or crown of boasting before Jesus at His coming? Is there any application for your daily life?

SaturdayI Thessalonians 3:1-2; Acts 17:18-31; 19:17-20; Ezra 10:1- 19

Notice the personal sacrifice it was for Paul to send Timothy to Thessalonica. What personal sacrifices have you had to make as a Christian?

Mocking the Crucified Christ

Mark, Sermon Preparation

November 8, 2015 – Morning Worship

MondayMark 15:16-32

See the theme of mocking that runs through this passage. Who are the mockers and why are they mocking Jesus?

TuesdayPsalm 69

How does this Psalm echo in our passage of Jesus’ scorn and reproach? What reason do we find in the Psalm that Jesus had to endure this (v. 9)? How does that apply to you?

WednesdayPsalm 22

In what ways do you see this Psalm of King David being fulfilled in a new way in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion? How does this Psalm help you understand what is going on in Mark? Why did Jesus have to suffer shame and suffering and crucifixion? How ought this be a great sadness and comfort to you?

ThursdayI Peter 2

How did Peter apply the reality of Christ’s suffering to the lives of Christians after the resurrection? How does this apply to you?

FridayMatthew 27:27-44; Luke 23:26-43; John 19:16-27

Notice the similarities and differences in the accounts of the other eyewitnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion? What is unique about Mark’s emphases and what is the significance for you?

SaturdayGenesis 2:25; 3:7-8; Ezra 9; Isaiah 61:7

How is shame related to sin? When do you feel shame, what do you feel ashamed about? How does Jesus enduring the mocking shame he does in Mark 15 deal with our shame?