Concordia Adult Bible Class
Summary: Dig deeper into God's Word with Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
“What does God want me to do?” “Where does God want me to go?” “What does God want me to be?” These big questions about life’s direction do not have easy answers. What’s more, when we approach God in prayer about large life decisions, heaven can sometimes seem strangely silent. Yet, even when we don’t know what to do, we are given this admonition: “When we do not know what to do, we are to fix our eyes upon You”
He only looked like a child. But to Herod, he was so much more. He was a threat to his title as “King of the Jews.” Herod desires to kill this child, but his plot is foiled. Some wise men from the east desire to worship this child, and they are blessed. Jesus is King! Will we respond with rebellion like Herod or worship like the wise men when we meet Him face to face?
Lego Board Games are games you build yourself! And as you build them, you also try to beat your opponents. In Matthew 2, we are introduced to Herod the Great. Herod was known as quite a builder. He was the one who expanded the temple in Jerusalem to an untold splendor. He was the one who built fortresses such as the Herodium and even built a whole new city – the Caesarea Maritima. But Herod was also paranoid that someone would seek to take his power and prestige. So when some Magi from the east come inquiring about “a King of the Jews,” Herod becomes immediately jealous, believing that someone is trying to steal his throne. Sadly, during Christmas, our penchant for jealousy often comes out as we compare ourselves to those who more than us. Are we satisfied with what we do – and do not – have?
Pillow pets are exactly what their name implies – they are pets, but they are also pillows. By simply unfolding it, your child can turn his stuffed animal into a pillow on which to sleep. Around the holidays, a pillow pet sounds nice, doesn’t it? After all, this season is so busy and tiring. Who couldn’t use a nap? In Isaiah 8, the prophet speaks of a dark, tiring, and stressful time. He foretells a coming Assyrian invasion. But then, in chapter 9, Isaiah breaks out in a chorus of hope: “The people living in darkness have seen a great light” (verse 2). He further promises a coming Messiah who, among other things, will be the “Prince of Peace” (verse 6). Jesus, even when we are stressed and in need of rest, stills our souls with His peace.
They won “The Toy of the Year” for 2011. Sing-A-Ma-Jigs can talk, sing, and harmonize with each other! If you collect the whole family, they will always sing in perfect harmony. If only our families were as harmonious. But the truth is, our families are often filled with stress and strife, especially around the holidays. During the first Christmas, Joseph encountered a major family problem – his fiancé Mary turned up pregnant and he knew he was not the father! Yet, because of Joseph’s trust in God, he stayed with Mary and saw their marriage through. Do we trust in God to see us through difficult times and reconcile our broken relationships?
The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind has just published a book titled Confidence Men, detailing the Obama administration’s confidence – and confusion – as they seek to handle some of our day’s biggest issues. If there was a “confidence man” in the first century, it was Paul. In his former life as a Pharisee, he was confident in his own ability, morality, and spirituality. But now he has shifted his confidence to Christ. Where is your confidence?
The phrase “cop an attitude” usually carries with it a negative connotation. But in Philippians 2, Paul calls us to cop the same attitude as Christ! We are to imitate His humility, His servant-spirit, and His obedience. For when we cop Christ’s attitude, we are pointing others toward Christ Himself so that the knees and the tongues of others can bow can confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
In a dispute, a plaintiff will sometimes try to sue a defendant for “pain and suffering.” In these instances, the plaintiff is seeking to recoup some sort of reimbursement for the anguish the defendant has allegedly caused him. Paul opens his letter with an honest admission of his situation: he is in great pain and suffering. He is “in chains for Christ” (verse 13). Yet, rather than suing, Paul rejoices, for he know that what has happened to him “has really served to advance the gospel” (verse 12). Do we see circumstances that cause us pain and suffering as opportunities to advance Christ’s gospel? What are some ways we can better learn to see the gospel even in our most difficult moments?
Though our national debt is big, it is not nearly as big as the debt of our sin, for the debt of our sin is incalculable. When Jesus encounters a sinful woman who anoints His feet with perfume, He knows that she loves Him much because she has been forgiven by God for a debt of sin that baffles her. On Reformation Day, we celebrate God’s extravagant love – a love so great that it would cover our sins. We respond by loving and serving our Lord for His marvelous gift.
Prudential built its reputation on providing their clients with steady financial returns on their investments. That’s why their logo is a rock. It indicates steadiness and sureness. Stewardship, likewise, begins with a rock-solid promise: “I the LORD do not change” (verse 6). This means if God has been generous to us in our past, we can count on Him to be generous to us in our future! How have you seen God’s generosity in your past? Do you steward your money generously as a sign of faith that you trust His generosity for your future?
The enticement to lust is everywhere in our culture. What we see on TV, the internet, in video games, and in many other places can tempt us to lust after someone who is not ours. Paul’s pronouncement on lust is unequivocal: We ought to flee it (verse 18)! Why? Because we are temples of God’s Spirit. Thus, we live our lives with zeal for him rather than a lust for sin, as Paul says in Romans 12:11: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Idleness is inexcusable! Because we were created to work, we will find work to do one way or another. But the work born out of idleness is sinful work, like being a busybody. Thus, it is important that we are intentional and faithful in the work we do so that we glorify God in our work.
When facing injustice, a person can respond in one of two ways: anger or rejoicing. The apostles could have responded with anger at the Sadducees because the Sadducees were unfairly persecuting them. Instead, they were “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy suffering disgrace for the Name” (verse 41). How do we respond to adversity?
Our world is full of lies. The most dangerous lies are those told about God. This is why John encourages the children of the true God to stay way from idols (cf. verse 21) and remain in him who is true (cf. verse 20). In this message, we will discuss how to stand up for purity and truth in a world full of wickedness and lies.
In Ephesians 4 and 5, Paul outlines four sins that cause us to FAIL: Falsehood, Anger, Idleness, and Lust. What is the solution to overcoming such enticing sins? Should we strive harder? No! Paul says we should “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (verse 24). We should put on Christ. For when we do, we receive the PRIZE he has for us: Rather than lies, we receive God’s Purity; rather than anger, we live with Rejoicing; rather than sitting around idle, we live with Intentionality; rather than lusting after others, we live with Zeal toward God, and, finally, Christ ushers us into Eternity. Over the next five weeks, we will unpack each of these items and discover how Christ’s power overcomes our sinfulness with his righteousness!