Homecoming and Outgoing

mark_case_for_jesus_logoIn Mark 6:1-13, we see Jesus come home to Nazareth (6:1-6) and send the disciples on a short-term mission trip in the area (6:7-13).

Jesus’ reception in Nazareth is painfully hostile. Having grown up there, the Nazarenes are so familiar with the Jesus they think they know (“Isn’t this the carpenter?”) that they miss the Jesus who stands before them.

Jesus then sends the Twelve out into the surrounding region to preach, heal, and cast out demons. His instructions are counterintuitive, to say the least: they are to go with no provisions, trusting the providence of God and not themselves. Jesus also prepares them for how to respond when they are treated as He was in Nazareth.

Notes and audio are available (Part 1 and Part 2).

Confident Faith: Contradictions in the Bible? (Part 2)

Confident Faith: Contradictions in the Bible? (Part 2)

After introducing our discussion on the alleged contradictions in the Bible, we followed up by looking at some specific examples from the Old Testament.

First, we looked at two kinds of “contradictions” from Proverbs: contradictions of observation or experience, and the apparent contradiction of Proverbs 26:4-5. Understanding how to interpret Proverbs in general resolves the appearance of a contradiction in both cases.

Then we looked at the account of the Creation in Genesis 1-2. Some claim that these are competing accounts of creation thrown together by a sloppy editor. As a matter of fact, there is no competition at all: Genesis 1 is the big-picture view of all the heavens and the earth; Genesis 2 is a zoomed-in look at the creation of Adam and Eve.

Audio and notes are available here.

Confident Faith: Canaanite Genocide, continued

Confident Faith: Canaanite Genocide, continued

We finished our discussion about the Conquest of Canaan in Sunday School at Grace Community Church this past Sunday. We stepped back to see why the history of taking the Promised Land is in the Bible for us today: what does it teach us about our life, about the nature of God, and about God’s purposes and plans for all things?

Unfortunately, audio isn’t available, but the notes have been updated to include the latest discussion material.

Confident Faith: What about the Old Testament Laws?

Confident Faith: What about the Old Testament Laws?

In our Sunday School series Confident Faith: Hope in the Tough Questions, we’re looking at questions that believers can struggle with. Our goal is to see God and His Word as more trustworthy and life-giving, even in those difficult, hard-to-answer questions.

The first question we looked at is this: If you use the Old Testament to say homosexuality is wrong (e.g., Leviticus 18:22), why don’t you keep all the Old Testament laws?

The question is important for believers for at least two major reasons. First, as believers, we want to uphold the authority and value of all of the Scriptures; and second, we want to be faithful to God in all that He calls us to be and do as His people. Are we being inconsistent in applying an Old Testament passage to life today, given that we are New Testament believers?

Audio and notes from the class can be found here.

Confident Faith: Introduction

Confident Faith: Introduction

We began a new Sunday School series called Confident Faith: Hope in the Tough Questions.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us that honoring Christ in our hearts produces a steadfast hope within us, which we will then be asked to defend. We give reasons and defend what we believe, but not because of us or our opinions, but because of the hope that we have in Jesus our Lord. This series’ goal is to strengthen our hope by looking at difficult questions in order to see the goodness and worthiness of God, even in those tough questions.

Audio and notes from the class can be found here.

The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, Part 2

We continued our discussion of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in and through the Word of God. In the first part of our discussion, we talked about the Spirit’s inspiration of the Scriptures, when He reminded and taught the apostles all that Jesus had said. We followed this up by looking at the confidence in the Scriptures that the Spirit gives us, by enabling us to recognize and respond to the Scriptures as the very Word of God. The Scriptures are preserved through the generations by those who are born again and see the Bible for the great treasure it is–all of which is the Spirit’s work in us.

You can read the notes and listen to the audio here.

The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures

In Sunday School, we began looking at the Holy Spirit’s ministry through the Scriptures, in particular at inspiration. The foundation for our discussion was Jesus’ promise in John 14:26 that the promised Holy Spirit sent in His name by the Father would teach and remind the apostles all that Jesus said and did.

Audio and notes are available here. Next week, we’ll continue this discussion by looking at the Holy Spirit’s preservation of the Scriptures that He inspired. We’ll delve into issues of canon and our confidence as believers that the Table of Contents is complete and correct.