The Women in Jesus’ Genealogy

Scripture Passage: Matthew 1:1-17

Five women are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Their inclusion is remarkable because they lived in a time when genealogies rarely contained even a single female name. So why are these women included?

What does the mention of these women signify? These five women have five amazing stories that can teach each of us about the true meaning of Christmas.

Tamar | A Story of Hope

Tamar is the first woman mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy. Her story is a story of desperation, grief, and depravity and yet reminds us that in place of desperate acts and broken hopes, the coming Messiah would bring real hope into a needy world.

With whom can you share the story of hope this Christmas?

Rahab | A Story of Faith

Throughout Scripture, Rahab is referred to as a prostitute or harlot — perhaps because it demonstrates the fact that God can redeem anyone and anything for his purpose. However, Rahab’s faith earned her a place in the lineage of Jesus. Her faith was more powerful than her failure.

What failures can you entrust to God this Christmas?

Ruth | A Story of Lovingkindness

Ruth was a young Moabite women who had married into a Jewish family. She chose to care for her widowed mother-in-law rather than return to her own people. Ruth eventually married a man named Boaz. Their son became the grandfather of King David.

To whom can you demonstrate kindness and compassion this Christmas?

Bathsheba | A Story of Grace

Bathsheba entered into the story in the most heartbreaking way. After committing adultery with Bathsheba, King David orchestrated the death of her husband. She eventually became one of King David’s wives and the mother of Solomon, the wise king.

How can grace heal a broken heart? To whom can you demonstrate grace this Christmas?

Mary | A Story of Fulfillment

Mary was an ordinary girl on the threshold of marriage. But God planned from the very beginning for her life to be anything but ordinary. He planned to use Mary to fulfill his plan of salvation for a broken world. Her story is one of fulfillment as she gave birth to Jesus.

What might God be able to do through your life if you gave Him complete control?

Lessons from the Genealogy

Christmas Sermon Banner

Scripture Passage: Matthew 1:1-16

The genealogy of Jesus as shown in Matthew 1 is a passage that many of us skim past, but there are several powerful reminders we see in this passage that have real implications on how we live our lives.

Jesus is a real person in real history.
The story of Jesus is not to be compared with Greek mythology, folklore, or local legends. The Biblical accounts are of real places and real people–able to be verified and confirmed like any other accurate historical account. What does this mean for us? The story of Jesus is not just a cute bedtime story. What we read in the Bible is the real-life love story of a God who is pursuing his creation to bring them back into a restored loving relationship.

God’s timing is perfect.
In the genealogy we see that God chose a specific place in the order of these generations to have Jesus enter the world. Galatians 4:4 says, “When the time came to completion, God sent his Son…” There were many generations longing for a savior. Have you ever asked God, “Where are you?” In the same way that Jesus came in his perfect timing, God works in our lives according to His perfect timing.

Jesus came for freedom.
There are amazing layers of meaning in the genealogy shared in Matthew 1. One of which is the significance of the number of generations documented in the passage. The symmetry and symbolism point to Jesus being the fulfillment of the Jewish tradition known as the year of Jubilee–a special time when slaves are set free and debts are forgiven. Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom, Christ set us free.” Jesus did not come to condemn us or institute new laws to follow–rather, He came to provide a way for us to find freedom in a relationship with Him.

Think About It & Talk About It:

  • How does it impact your life knowing that Jesus was a real person living in a real place in history?
  • How has God shown up according to his perfect timing your life?
  • What is something you are waiting on God for right now?
  • What does it mean for you to know that Jesus came specifically to provide freedom and not judgement on you?

The Ascension and the Mission of the Church 

Scripture Passage: Acts 1:1-11

The ascension of Jesus is inseparably linked to His redemptive plan. In fact, Jesus’ commission to the disciples to go as witnesses into the world coincided with this incredible, miraculous event.

The Ascension Reminds Us That We Have a Valid Mission | Acts 1:1-5

Do you see? The same God who kept every promise in His word will keep every promise He has made for the future. That means every word in the Scriptures is true. You never ever have to doubt if you’ve chosen the right side when you’re on God’s side. The Ascension reminds us that we have a valid mission.

The Ascension Reminds Us That We Have an Empowered Mission | Acts 1:6-9

Jesus gave His disciples a mission that was bigger than themselves! Think about this: these 11 disciples were on the hillside 2000 years ago and answered the call. We worship and proclaim the good news because of the faithfulness of those disciples. There are millions of others today who are waiting on us to answer that same call.

The Ascension Reminds Us That We Have a Victorious Mission | Acts 1:9-11

Jesus Christ is our forerunner. He has gone ahead of us to heaven. Jesus is going to return as conquering King. We have been commissioned to proclaim his coming!

Think About It & Talk About It

• What does the word “ascension” mean? 

• In what ways are we on the same mission the disciples were sent on? 

• What is the mission God has called you to? 

• The Gospel is the power for salvation and the purpose of our everyday life. How will you live on mission this week?

Shift Your Security

Scripture Passage: Philippians 4:10-20

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul assure us that we can shift our security and trust God to provide for our needs.

Trust God to Give Opportunities
The Philippian church provided for Paul while he was in prison. One way in which God provides for His people is by creating opportunity to bring people with abundance together with people in need. Whether you have need or abundance, you can trust God to give you opportunity.

Trust God to Give Blessing
In the midst of need you can trust God to give you blessing that would otherwise not be available. Paul never said that every situation is good but rather that God is able to work all things for the good of those who love Him (see Romans 8:28).

Trust God to Give Strength
God frequently gives us more than we can handle — but he never gives us more than He can handle. God promises that you can trust Him to give you the strength to get through hard times.

Think About It & Talk About It
• Where are you putting your security?
• Are you still thinking that your life is going okay and though mentally you agree that you need to trust God, you are still confident in your own ability to handle every situation?
• Are you struggling and feel stuck? Perhaps you need to cease striving and know that God is God (Ps. 46:10).
• Have you been complaining about where you are so much that you need help changing your focus?
• Have you been trying to do it on your own and need to confess your inadequacies? Pray for his strength and learn to abide in Him.

Three Dimensions of Salvation

Scripture Passage: Phil 3:1-21

The Bible talks about salvation as having three dimensions: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is the removal of the penalty of sin. Sanctification is the removal of the power of sin. Glorification is the removal of the presence of sin.

Often we talk about salvation as if it only is about justification. No one wants to experience the penalty of their sin. But God wants to do more than paying the penalty of your sin. He wants to remove it from your life so that you can experience true fulfillment.

In Philippians 3, Paul shows us these three Dimensions of Salvation:

Justification (Phil. 3:1-11)
Justification means God removes the penalty of sin. An easy way to remember this is that when you are justified, God sees you “Just as If” you’d never sinned. It is a legal term meaning that you have been given the legal standing of “not guilty.” In other words, we’re all failures from a spiritual standpoint; but Jesus’ work on the cross made available our access to his perfection.

Paul talks about this being the reason for our rejoicing. He warns against “the dogs” who would devour people by making them doubt this justification and living in fear that God might take back his love and forgiveness. He says that this justification wasn’t earned, but freely given. In fact, all the work he could have brought to God as “payment” was considered garbage compared to what Jesus had given as payment.

Sanctification (Phil. 3:12-14)
Sanctification means God removes the power of sin. Even though we’ve been completely forgiven, we still struggle with old ways and fleshly desires. In fact, 1 John tells us that anyone who says he is without sin is actually a liar and the truth is not in him. So while we are completely saved when we place our faith in Jesus, we’re still being transformed into the image of our Savior. So every day of our life in Christ, God is continuing to save us from the heartache of our sin.

Glorification (Phil. 3:15-21)
Glorifiation means God removes the presence of sin. Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. Philippians 3:21 sums this concept up by saying, “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.” In a sense, glorification is the completion of sanctification!

We have been saved form judgment when we trusted Jesus (justification). We are being saved from sin as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out (sanctification). And one day, we’ll be completely saved from the sin as we enter into God’s presence (glorification).

Discussion Questions:
• What are the three dimensions of Salvation?
• How do we sometimes present an incomplete view of salvation to people?
• How do you encourage a person to pursue sanctification?

The Power of Mentoring

 

Scripture Passage: Philippians 2:19-29

The Apostle Paul offers insight into how to live the Christian life with other people and into the value of mentors and mentoring. Mentoring is a relationship in which a mentor helps a protégé reach his or her God-given potential. Although the word “mentor” never appears in the Bible, the concept of mentoring is found throughout the pages of Scripture.

Each of us should seek to cultivate three relationships with others.

1. Everybody Needs an Epaphroditus — An Ally

What’s the role of an ally? This person is often someone near your age, with similar life conditions to your own, who helps you address ideas, problems, questions, and practical issues of life. An ally holds you accountable and challenges sin in your life. He speaks hard truths to you.

2. Everybody Needs a Paul — A Mentor

Dr. Howard Hendricks proposed “ten marks” of a mentor:
1. Seems to have what you personally need.
2. Cultivates relationships.
3. Is willing to take a chance on you.
4. Is respected by other Christians.
5. Has a network of resources.
6. Is consulted by others.
7. Both talks and listens.
8. Is consistent in his lifestyle.
9. Is able to diagnose your needs.
10. Is concerned with your interests.

3. Everybody Needs a Timothy — A Disciple or Mentee
A disciple or mentee is someone less advanced than you in some area of your spiritual life whom you take under your wing and mentor. It may not be someone younger in age!

Think and talk about mentoring…

Parents: How can you mentor your kids and also help them to connect with others who can mentor them?

Personally:
• Who in your life is an ally? Identify them and name them.
• Who in your life is a mentor? Identify them and thank them this week. 
• If you do not have a mentor, who could you ask?
• Who are you mentoring?

Unity

Scripture Passage: Philippians 1:27

Paul reminds us that we are citizens of heaven and, as such, should lived our lives worthy of the gospel. Unity — common values, common goals, common struggles — is essential to living out our citizenship in a world that watches every move we make.

It is important to understand that unity is not union, uniformity, or unanimity. Unity refers to oneness of heart, a similarity of purpose, and an agreement on truth. Paul explained how unity happens.

First, we must have common a common relationship. As Christ-followers we have the same Heavenly Father and are members of the same family.

Take a moment to thank God for those with whom you are connected at Kingsland.

Second, a part of cultivating unity is a common spirit. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us as members of God’s family.

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to work cooperatively with others.

Third, to cultivate unity we must have a common mission. We must move in the same direction. We must work side by side in order to advance God’s purposes in the world today.

Take time this week to get acquainted with our new EmpoweredHomes.org website. Encourage others you know to visit the site to glean ideas on how to have a home that glorifies God. Determine to work cooperatively with other members of our family to reach 10,000 homes with the good news of Jesus Christ.

A Shift in Purpose

SHIFT Banner

Scripture Passage: Philippians 1:12-13

All of us have experienced detours in life—unforeseen challenges or struggles that cause us to deviate from the path we expected. In today’s passage, Paul references some detours he experienced in his own life, but he turns the situation upside down by showing that God was able to accomplish good in the midst of the challenges. Every believer should make the most of “detours” because of the way God uses setbacks in Paul’s life.

Three ways God shapes lives for the cause of Christ:

1. The Answered Prayers of Detours

Sometimes, God answers our prayers in ways that we don’t anticipate. Paul prayed to be able to minister in Rome, he had not planned for his journey to Rome to be due to imprisonment. Through it all, God used these unplanned circumstances to further the Gospel.

2. The Unexpected People of Detours

When we end up in the midst of detours, we often find ourselves surrounded by people we would have otherwise never had access to. Many times our trials become like backstage passes that give us access to amazing people who would otherwise not be interested in connecting with you. And when you have that access, you have the opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with them.

3. The Altered Priorities of Detours

Every person is going to have to determine at some point what really matters. When we face major setbacks in our lives, a lot of the things that used to matter don’t matter anymore. And some of the things that should have mattered now matter a lot more.

Discussion Questions:

  • Think back to a time in your life when things did not go according to plan. Can you now see a way that God was at work during that time?
  • Who is someone that God has placed in your path to have an impact on their life? How could God use you to impact their life?
  • Have you had a circumstance in your life that recalibrated your priorities? Which priorities changed and why?

Shift Your Citizenship

SHIFT Banner
Scripture Passage:
Philippians 1:1-6

In his letter to the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul reminded his readers that their citizenship was in heaven. Citizenship in heaven focuses on our responsibility to extend the influence of God’s kingdom where we live. Paul wanted for the Philippian Christians to see themselves primarily as citizens of heaven and to see everything through that lens. To be citizens of heavens requires that we do the following:

Shift Your Attention — Philippians 1:1 and Colossians 1:17-18
As citizens of heaven we must shift our attention off of ourselves and onto Jesus.

• What is one way in which you can shift your attention to Jesus?

Shift Your Approach — Philippians 1:2
Living out our citizenship means shifting our approach away from trying to control toward experiencing and showing peace and grace.

• To whom can you demonstrate grace this week?

Shift Your Allegiance — Philippians 1:2
As citizens of heaven we must analyze our priorities and allegiances and pledge our allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord.

• Is loyalty to Jesus your highest allegiance?

Shift Your Aim — Philippians 1:6
As citizens of heaven we must realize that God is at work in our lives to conform us into the image of His Son — and that He will not abandon that good work.

• In what areas of your life is God currently working to make you more like Jesus?

Visionary Followers

Nehemiah_Final

Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 3

This morning at church we were in Nehemiah Chapter 3 and we looked at what it means to be a follower. Through the Scripture we saw that there were three types of followers. The first is the bystander. These are people who are not involved, they just observe, and they often try to bring things down. The second was the participant. These are people who check the box of helping and following, but they are not bought into what they are doing. The third is the champion. The champion is the person who gives above and beyond when they serve and follow.

The type of follower that we want to be as Christ followers is a champion. Below are a few characteristics of the champions.

  1. Champions are both leaders and followers.
    • In order to be a good leader you must learn how to follow.
  2. Champions take ownership.
    • Champions seek to learn how God has wired them and to use their spiritual gifts to serve others.
  3. Champions don’t care about receiving the credit.
    • They serve and follow to help move the vision forward and to be a part of the greater picture.

The people in Nehemiah 3 were all people who followed Nehemiah and helped accomplished the task of rebuilding the wall. Many of their names are mentioned here, but they may not mean much to us at first reading. However, they were all used to accomplish a greater goal for God. We are no different. The things we do today and the way we follow today may not ever be known by the multitude, but they matter in terms of eternity. They are part of a bigger picture, and they bring God much glory.

Questions:

  • Who do I follow?
  • Why am I following them?
  • How does my following of these people effect how I lead others? (We all have influence.)
  • As I follow what are ways that you can serve other people and be a part of what God is doing?

Prayer: Pray that you as a family would seek to follow well and follow those that will lead you to honor and glorify Jesus. Pray that your family would serve as you follow.