The Peacemakers

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:9

What does it mean to be peacemaker? Think back for a moment to the Christmas story. What did the angles proclaim in Luke 2:14?

Peace in the biblical sense is harmony that brings “warring parties” together to enjoy the full benefits of one another.

How hard is it to be peacemaker? Why?

Look up a couple of these verses on peace and ask what is God telling us?
• 2 Timothy 2:22
• 1 Peter 3:11
• 1 Corinthians 7:15b
• Romans 12:18
• Hebrews 12:14
• James 3:18.

Read together Ephesians 2:14-21 to learn 3 markers of a peacemaker:

1. Peacemakers move toward the conflict, not away. What did Jesus do in verse 17?

2. Peacemakers identify and remove barriers. Discuss what Jesus did in verse 14.

3. Peacemakers recognize that real peace is not of this world. What do verse 16 and 18 reveal about real peace?

Practical Application:

• Mom & Dad – How can you be a peacemaker in your marriage/home?

• Kids – Think about your last fight with your friend or brother/sister. What could you have done differently?

• Pray to have peace with God and to be a peacemaker.

Forgiveness

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:7 and 18: 21-35

Forgiveness isn’t a suggestion God gives us. It’s an obligation for believers. So how do we forgive and why?

In the Parable of the Unfaithful Servant, we see forgiveness practiced. The servant that owed much was forgiven but then didn’t forgive someone else of a much smaller debt. How do we practice extraordinary forgiveness?

1. My Opportunity to Receive Mercy | The man forgiven of the immense debt is an example of the sin debt we can’t possibly pay on our own. God forgives us when there is no way for us to pay.

2. My Opportunity to Offer Mercy | If we don’t forgive others much smaller debts, our salvation isn’t at risk, but we are putting ourselves in a prison of bitterness and pain.

God tells us to forgive others, but how do we do it?

Identify | We must identify in what way we perceive we were wronged and what we feel we are owed. Write it down and be honest with yourself.

Love | We must look past the fault and see the other person’s need. We are undeserving of God’s forgiveness, but He sees our need and loves us anyway.

Surrender | We must release the debt we deserve.

Forgive | Forgiveness is passing along the owed payment to God.

There are no shortcuts to quality. Forgiveness is hard work, but God asks it of us and He will give us the strength to succeed.

Discussion Questions: 

• How have you been wronged and whom do you need to forgive? What steps can you take today? 

• Who has forgiven you when you didn’t deserve it? 

• How can you seek to forgive someone that hasn’t asked for forgiveness? 

• Discuss times you may have unintentionally hurt someone. Have you asked for forgiveness? 

Happiness is Humble

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:5

Many people associate happiness and success with strength, confidence, self-assurance, survival of the fittest, conquest, and power. In contrast, happiness and success, as defined by Christ, is found in humility.

One writer precisely described humility as “… an internal characteristic is a disposition of heart, which through the keen perception of its own misery and the abounding mercy of God, has become so pliant, gentle, mild, flexible, and tractable, that no trace of its original ruggedness, of its wild and untamed nature even remains.”

When Jesus said, “blessed are the humble” He was referencing Psalm 37:11, explaining the practicality in the pursuit for humility. There are at least four key components to it:

1. Trust the Lord. God knows what He is doing. If something is outside our grasp, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to sin just to try to get hold of it. And if something is slipping away, we shouldn’t sin to hold on.

2. Take Delight in the Lord. This requires us to shift our focus away from the good things God created for us to enjoy but which were never designed to bring true fulfillment and shift it towards God. He is the only source of true fulfillment.

3. Commit Your Ways to the Lord. The essence of humility means to “trust God to set the path and determine the destination.” It is submitting your dreams and desire to God and trusting Him to direct your life in the best possible direction.

4. Rest in the Lord. Stop striving, stop thinking that you can do it on your own. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, then sit back and let God be God.

Discussion

• How do you feel when things are getting out of your control? Do you really trust the Lord?

• Are you willing to shift your focus to God? What are some ways that you can delight in the Lord?

• Do you dare to submit your dreams and desires to Him?

• How does your soul respond to “rest”? Are you resting in Him?

Happiness is Sorrowful

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:1-4

Grief is a surprising path God can create to happiness. There are times when God invites us to grieve; we can experience the power of mourning by recognizing the implications of grief found in Matthew 5:4.

1. Grief is a choice. | We often try to avoid grief, but grief is God’s tool for getting us through transitions in life. Grief takes time and we don’t get over grief, we get through grief. Grief is a season, not a day.

2. Grief is the path to comfort. | If we want comfort, we must mourn. If we don’t learn to grieve, we’ll end up managing the pain in unhealthy ways.

3. Grief is designed for community. | We are to carry one another’s burdens. Throughout the Bible are examples of people grieving in community. And not only do people grieve with us, God grieves with us.

Discuss:

• In what ways have you been comforted in community during a time of mourning?

• What are some ways that you can see mourning leads to happiness?

• What is a loss you haven’t grieved over?

• How can you have the courage to lament over that loss this week?

Happiness

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:1-5

You will be happy when you realize the two secrets of happiness.

1. Happiness is a by-product of surrender.  

People pursue happiness through acquisitions, enlightenment, and acceptance. Instead, happiness comes from giving up that individual pursuit and depending on God.

2. Happiness is a by-product of holiness.  

Holiness means to be set apart. You are supposed to be different. There are two critical steps we must take in response to this invitation to happiness through holiness.

A. Embrace the call to holy living. Stop buying the enemy’s lies about the glory, excitement or relief of ignoring God’s law and set your mind on the good things of God.

B. Understand your standing in Jesus. Until you realize you are spiritually bankrupt, you will not be happy. But when you realize you are, you have access to the Kingdom.

Stop chasing happiness. Pursue brokenness. Pursue Jesus.

Discussion Questions 

• What are you pursuing to make you happy? 

• Why is it hard to pursue brokenness?  

• What can you do today to pursue Jesus instead of happiness?

Study the Bible

The Bible is the story of God’s kingdom unfolding in our midst. It is the treasure map to finding where God is and what he is up to. If you seek Him, He promises you will find Him. And when you find Him, joy will overwhelm you.

Discuss: “What is the Bible?”

• Look at the table of contents of your Bible: How many books are in the Bible?
• How many are in the Old Testament? New Testament?
• What is the difference?

Old Testament

• The Old Testament is summarized in one word, Israel.

4 basic sections of the Old Testament

• Torah: Genesis – Deuteronomy
• History: Joshua – Esther
• Writings: Job – Song of Songs
• Prophets: Major (Isaiah – Daniel) and Minor (Hosea – Malachi)

New Testament

• The New Testament is summarized in one word, Jesus.

4 basic sections of the New Testament

• Gospels: Matthew – John
• History: Acts
• Letters: Paul (Roman – Philemon) and GHeneral
• Revelation

Why study the Bible?

• To know God’s voice. Read John 10:27 and Hebrews 1:1-2. What do these verses teach us?

• To know God’s will. Read James 2:19 and 1:22-26. What do these verses teach us about knowing God’s will?

• To know God’s blessing. Read Psalm 1:1-3. What are some of the benefits (blessings)?

Check out the Kingsland App for some tools to help you get started.

Discuss with one another your favorite Bible stories: tell them in your own words, what you like about them, what they tell you about God, and what they say about you.

Aaron’s Blessing

Scripture Passage: Numbers 6: 24-26

Aaron’s blessing in Numbers 6 shows us how we can experience God’s blessing in 2020. This blessing was said at the end of every tabernacle service to send the people out into the world and into their families with a new beginning. As we are “sent out” into a new year, this blessing connects us to God and helps us to bless others as well.

1. We receive blessing through God delighting in us.
God made you and decided, from the beginning, that it was good. He wants to have a relationship with you that is intimate and genuine.

2. We receive blessing through God’s provision.
God not only delights in and wants the best for you, but He is committed with all of His power to achieving what’s best for you. He is willing to the pay the price, even if that’s the death of His own Son, to bring about what is best for you.

3. We receive blessing through the family.
When we enter into relationship with God, He makes us part of His family. Maintaining that relationship with the Father is the most important way to receive the blessing of His family.

Families are so important whether they be your physical or spiritual family, which is why Kingsland is passionate about the family. We received His blessing, now we can be a blessing within our families, within our communities, and to those who may not know God.

Discussion:

• Where do you feel like you struggle when it comes to receiving God’s blessing and becoming a blessing to others?

• Are you prepared to GO where God leads you, out of your comfort zone, to share the love of God to others?

• Are you prepared to GATHER in biblical community on a consistent basis – and to commit to others at Kingsland as you invest your life in theirs?

• Are you prepared to BLESS those in your household – to be committed to being a physical representative of the blessing of God to your own family?

• Are you prepared to REST in Jesus – to invest time every day to a personal relationship with the God who loves you?

Rest and Remain in Jesus

Scripture Passage: John 15

The habit of rest has to do with the domain of our hearts. The rest and fruitfulness we experience in life is directly related to the depth of relationship we have with Jesus. Every one of us can have a more fruitful 2020 by resting in two statements Jesus made in John 15. Let’s review!

1. You are already clean!
Remember that if you have believed in Jesus you are already clean! Jesus taught His disciples about the Truth of who He is, what freedom from sin looks like and how eternal salvation is won. Not only does Jesus’ declaration of His disciples being clean speak to all of that, but it also speaks to our identity, worth and value!

No one gets to tell you you’re not spiritually clean, if Jesus has already declared you clean. No one gets to tell you, you have no worth or value if Jesus has already said you have worth and value!

2. You must remain in Jesus!
Jesus said to “remain” seven times in the first eight verses of John 15. Jesus reminded His disciples to remain in Him! The Gospel isn’t just a means to eternal life, it’s the means to all life and that life starts the moment you surrender your life to Jesus.

Jesus also wants us to bear fruit that glorifies the Father (verse 8). Of course, this is easier said than done. Practicing simplicity, stillness and sacrifice are helpful keys to remaining in Jesus!

Questions to consider: 

• Why do you believe Jesus wants us to stay connected to Him so much? 

• What does it mean that we “can do nothing” apart from Jesus? 

• How can your family rest more in Jesus for 2020? 

• How can your family remain in Jesus and bear more fruit in 2020?

The Virgin Birth of the Genealogy

Christmas Sermon Banner

Scripture Passage: Luke 1

The virgin birth is Mary’s conception of Jesus by Holy Spirit apart from a man.

QUESTION:What are some implications if we deny the virgin birth? Example: Bible is not trustworthy.

The virgin birth means: Jesus was able to live a sinless life; His living a sinless life means that Jesus was a sinless sacrifice; Jesus giving His life as a sinless sacrifice means there was an atonement for our sin.

  1. The virgin birth reminds us why we have access to God.
    1. What do the following verses have to say? 1 Corinthians 15:22, Romans 5:12, John 3:16
    2. His Father is God; His mother is human. He is God inhuman flesh; He is God-man. He is the One who is qualified to die on the cross for our salvation.
  2. The virgin birth reminds us that “nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
    1. You don’t have to understand to validate the truth.
    2. QUESTION: What are some things that we accept although we don’t understand the how? (Example: electricity)
    3. Ultimately, we have to believe – faith.

Read and discuss 1 Timothy 3:16.

QUESTIONS:

  • What are some challenges you have faced that seemed impossible? Ask your parents or grandparents.
  • Is there a challenge that you are facing that seems impossible? He is able. Will you trust Him?

PRAY: As a family pray about your challenges.

Jesus the Christ

Scripture Passage:  And Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Christ (Matthew 1:16).

We lift up the name of Jesus in worship because there is no other name worthy of praise and honor. This Christmas, remember these things about the name of Jesus.

1. The Name of Jesus is a Simple Name 

God, the Father named Jesus. God gave Him a name that was common to man because Jesus came to common man. He came to save the world and give His life for us.

2. The Name of Jesus is a Special Name

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

Jesus is “Messiah” and the “Anointed One.” Jesus is the One the Old Testament promised would one day bring salvation and a new covenant. Jesus came for us and gives all who trust in Him the gift of salvation, eternal life and a new life in Him.

3. The Name of Jesus is a Saving Name

There is no other name that brings salvation, healing and deliverance to people other than the Name of Jesus! There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Think About It & Talk About It

If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation then tell Jesus that you want Him to save you and receive His gift of salvation. He loves you and came to save us. He came to save you!

For believers, we can call on the name of Jesus to rescue us, heal us and set us free.  Are you walking through something difficult and painful? Call on the Name of Jesus and ask Jesus to help you, rescue you, heal you and receive His power at work in and through you. 

Is there someone you love who needs Jesus to rescue them?  Pray for them and ask Jesus to rescue them in the Name of Jesus.