Advent 2019 – Week 2: Peace
Listen. Paul tells us in Romans 15:4-13 that God is a God of encouragement and endurance. One of the ways he gives us encouragement is through the Scriptures. The Scriptures remind us of what God has done for us in the past. They also point to what God will do for us in the future. The Scriptures give us hope and hope is the key to endurance.
Why is endurance and hope so important to God? God is creating a community of diverse people through Jesus Christ. Endurance and hope are necessary ingredients for peace in God’s church so that people from different backgrounds can worship God with one voice. The church of Rome, which Paul is writing to, was a wildly diverse community of people from devout Jewish and pagan Gentile backgrounds. How can such different people become a family?
Hopeful people are peaceful people. Peace is needed so that we can be a community that accepts fellow sinners just as Christ accepted us when we were sinners. Christ died for us sinful people, so that we could be accepted into God’s family. We offer this same acceptance to our fellow sinners.
Respond. The Scriptures tell us what God has done for us in the past. Which things that God has done gives you hope today? Paul quotes the Old Testament prophets who tell us what God is going to do for the people of the world in Romans 8:8-12.
- What in these prophecies gives you hope?
- How do they motivate you to accept those who are different from you and difficult to love?
- How will you make Scripture reading a part of you life so that you are connected with God and filled with hope?
- Who specifically is God challenging you to love and accept?
- What will you do to show this person love?
- What groups of people do you find hard to be patient with?
- How will you show love to these groups of people?
Last week, we introduced the Advent Wreath. An Advent Wreath has three purple candles and one pink candle on the outer ring and a white candle, the Christ candle in the center. Light two purple candles (the one you lit last week, plus one more – which is called the “peace candle”) and read Isaiah 11:1-10. Isaiah 11:1-10 speaks of the peace Jesus will establish on the earth.
- What hope do you see in this prophecy?
- What will you do to work towards this future?
Share. What have you learned from this study that you can share with others? Make a plan to share it with someone in your life.