Daily Bible Readings – Friday, December 6, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 16

Prayer Point. Where does our security, our future and hope come from? I’d like to say from God alone, but I am one who still clings to idols. My idols are control and the praises of other people. What are yours? Confess those to God and then pray that for the faith to believe what David believed, “you are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing.”

Matthew 22:1-14

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? Using the following background as a guide.

Background.  The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Here we see the kingdom of heaven being likened to that of a wedding feast. Matt. 22:1–2 wedding feast. In this case, a countrywide celebration that would have continued for several days. This “feast” represents enjoying fellowship with God in his kingdom, and coming to the feast thus represents entering the kingdom. (ESV Study Bible Notes)

Who are those who would not come to the feast? Who are those who come?

What is the king’s response to the news that the invited guests wouldn’t come? (See verse 7) Matt. 22:7 burned their city. An extreme punishment reserved for serious treason and revolt against the king; possibly an allusion to the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70.(ESV Study Bible Notes)

In verse 9 we see the king give instructions to go to the main roads and invite as many people as they could find. Who are these people? (See Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16)

The king comes in in verse 11 and find a man with no wedding garment. He binds him and casts him into the outer darkness. There there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is a common description of eternal judgment. What does the wedding garment symbolize in this passage? Could it be the righteousness that is needed to enter the kingdom?

As Jesus closes the parable he makes a distinction between the called and the chosen. What is the difference between the two?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Jude 1-16

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. The author Jude is the brother of James and the half-brother of Jesus.

How does Jude identify himself? How does he address the Christians he is writing to? What has God the Father done for them in the past? What is the Father doing for them in the present? What is Christ doing for them as the letter is written? Have you ever thought about how the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) holds your faith together?

What is Jude’s central concern as he opens the main body of the letter in verse 3? What false teaching does he attack in verse 4?

The concept of grace, where God gives forgiveness and love to people who don’t deserve it, was a central theme of early church teaching. It was important for people to understand that one could not earn salvation through their obedience to God’s law. God’s law condemns every human being. God’s blessings can never be payment for a life well-lived. They can only be given on the basis of grace, a gift from God to a people who have failed to earn it.

But there was a twisting of grace that concerned Jude. If God saves me by grace and not by what I do, then I can sin anyway I want. It doesn’t matter. I am forgiven. Grace became a “license for immorality” (Jude 4) in other words.

Jude uses a number of Old Testament stories to warn us against turning grace into a license to sin. What happened to the Israelites who were saved by grace from Egypt, but failed to continue trusting in God? What happened to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who spurned God all together (see Genesis 18:16-19:29)?

How have Jude’s opponents ignored these warnings and turned grace into a license to sin (verses 8-16)?What sorts of sin are they engaging in? By the way, angels were regarded by Jews and the early Christians as messengers of God, which is what the word angel means. To speak against an angel was to speak against God. The story of the devil disputing with the angel Michael was a story from Jewish tradition, although it is not in the Old Testament. The point is that Jude’s opponents have the audacity to do what even the devil was afraid to do.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Amos 5:1-17

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel…” opens the fifth chapter of Amos. As I read this line I have to remember that Amos is still a shepherd with a heart broken for his people. Do we ever experience such sorrow as to “lament” for those around us? Are our hearts broken for the broken world we live in?

What is the LORD’s plea to Israel (verse 4-6)?  What are they asked not to do?  What are they called to instead?   The people are admonished against going to Bethel. This is meaningful because it is in Bethel that one of the two golden calves was set up for worship. This cannot help but be regarded as idol worship. The warnings against going to Gilgal and Beersheba are given simply because they are doomed to go into exile.

How have the Israelites treated those who have attempted to speak God’s truth to them and warn them of impending judgment (verse 10)?

Jesus taught that the worship and true love for God was deeply connected to the way we love our neighbor.  The Israelites have abandoned the worship of the true God.  How has that impacted the way the Israelites treated their poor neighbors (verses 11-13)?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

 

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