Pastor Dan kicked off our fourth Men’s Workout session with a short devotion in the book of Jude. He highlighted a few points:
- God’s grace does not grant us a license to sin.
- As recipients of such grace, we ought to do the will of the Father in faithfulness, not abusing God’s grace unto ungodliness or licentious living.
- The substance of our faith is demonstrated and proven in obedient living.
- We were reminded of what Jesus says to those who take license with God’s grace. Many will cry out to Jesus as “Lord, Lord”, but they will be declared as those who were lawless and whom the Lord never knew, and will be commanded to depart away from Him and from heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).
After reciting last week’s memory selection together (Matthew 5:17-20), Pastor Dan answered some questions concerning this section.
- What is the intended meaning of the word “annul” in verse 19?
- Annul is translated from the Greek word “loo’-o“, which has a wide range of meaning. It can be understood as breaking a command, which is the intended meaning in this context because it is contrasted from “keep,” as in do/perform/carry out (Greek word “poi-e-o”).
- Who is Jesus talking about when He says “whoever” in verse 19?
- Jesus is referring to the Scribes and Pharisees.
- Jesus is not condemning the Law or its fulfillment– thisis clearly stated in verse 17). Instead, Jesus is condemning the false teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees which goes against God’s Law and its fulfillment.
- In verse 19, Jesus says that there are those who will be called “least” in the kingdom of heaven. But in verse 20, Jesus says that those who do not surpass the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees will not enter the kingdom of heaven. How can one be called least in the kingdom and yet not be in the kingdom? Is this a contradiction?
- In the Greek, the words ” least” and “in the kingdom of heaven” speak to separate ideas. The same is true with the words “great” and “in the kingdom of heaven”. The idea is there are those who will be considered “least” or “great” from the vantage point of God’s kingdom (heaven). The idea is not that there will be false teachers and those who mislead who make it to heaven, but only considered “least” citizens; rather, these false teaching sribes and Pharisees will not make it to heaven at all, and they will be considered as “least” or excluded (as understood in verse 20).
The next memory selection is Matthew 5:21-26.
Sassoun led the first devotion.
- Hymn #126 – Behold Our God
- Revelation 1:4-6
- The text paints a clear picture of who Christ is: ruler of all kings, firstborn of the dead, Savior, one who loves us and made us to be a kingdom of priests.
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who suffered death in order to release us from our sins, and was raised from the dead. He will bring us into His own kingdom.
- This passage describes Jesus Christ in His fullness. The more we learn of Christ (who He is, what He did, and what He will do), the more clearly we can get to know Him and anticipate being with Him in heaven.
Arthur led the second devotion.
- Hymn #179 – ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
- 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
- We have no lack of anything in Christ. We are fulfilled in all things through Christ to the end.
- We can and ought to place our complete confidence, comfort, and trust in Christ, who is faithful to confirm us as blameless up to the end.
- We should not consider ourselves faithful because we think we have accomplished much for God by our own fleshliness, strengths, or abilities; rather, we should place our reliance and hope in God, who is faithful and enriches us fully through Christ.
- As much as we strive to obey the Lord and please Him in our lives, we can never meet God’s standard of perfect holiness. It is only because of God’s faithfulness that we can be assured of our own salvation.
- If we can summarize the entire text in one comprehensive proposition statement, then we should try to do that. Otherwise, we should focus and elaborate on at least one point that is clearly and obviously understood.
- Focus on what is being said, not on the fact that someone said it. For example, put focus on the fact that “God so loved the world”, NOT that “the Apostle John says, ‘God so loved the world’ “.
- When we work out impromptu devotions through a text we may not be familiar with or prepared for, we don’t have to feel pressured to understand everything or have everything prepared for. If something is not clearly understood, that’s OK! Mark it down for later study and try to focus on points that are more clearly understood.
- Topic 1: Dim yellow lights and stale air in the sanctuary (Sundays and Thursdays) are not very conducive to alertness and paying attention to the sermon. Anything we can do?
- Air freshness
- We may be able to open the doors on either side of the stage to encourage some outside airflow into the sanctuary to help replace stale air.
- Turning on the ventilation fans may also help a bit.
- Light quality
- As we are renting our current facility, we are probably not able to switch out the warmer-lit lightbulbs. Opening blinds behind the pulpit can also be distracting, as it gives the congregation view access to some of the parking lot areas.
- The AV team will experiment with which mix of light sets to leave on during the sermon to help optimize light quality.
- Air freshness
- Topic 2: During homegroup gatherings, we often leave the children in their own room or area while the adults gather to pray and discuss the sermons. Sometimes, the children are not actively monitored; this can lead to varying degrees of distractions to parents and the larger adult group, while also assuming the children can cooperate civilly and voluntary police themselves. Are there any ideas we can come up with to help manage the children during homegroup discussions?
- We can try to involve the kids as much as possible during the larger group gatherings. At the least, we can involve them in the corporate singing time before prayer and discussion take place.
- We can try to set up a volunteer rotation of adults who are willing to lead the kids in structured activities during homegroup discussions.
- Arthur volunteered to trial a memory verse & motions session with the children for the 5/28 homegroup session.
Pastor Dan demonstrated some motions to help describe the creation of Adam and Eve, God’s commands for them, their rebellion, God’s promise for redemption, and their banishment.
Some general notes:
- God was generous to Adam and Eve in allowing them and encouraging them to enjoy the entirety of the Garden of Eden!
- However, Adam and Eve’s violation of God’s single command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is rebellion – no “ifs, ands, or buts” about it.
- There was no mistake or innocence in their commission of sin. It was a very blatant rebellion against God.