The Lord’s Table: Bible Study/Prayer meeting
(Every Wednesday 6-7 pm in the Chapel)
St Paul’s ChurchThe Anglican Church of Canada
1 February 2012
Theme: The Good NewsTopic: Birth of Christ not an afterthought
Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet* like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.*16This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: ‘If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.’17Then the Lord replied to me: ‘They are right in what they have said.18I will raise up for them a prophet* like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet,* who shall speak to them everything that I command.19Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet* shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable.20But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.’
Christ coming to the world was not an afterthought but was predestined by God even before creation. According to today’s text, as far back as 1445 BC, God promised His people Israel that He will send them a Prophet and there are numerous references in the Old and New Testament of the predestination of Christ birth and His ultimate sacrifice. There are several lessons to be learnt from this fact and in today’s study we shall deal with as many of them as possible. Personally, what stands out for me is the fact that nothing takes God by surprise. He loves us so much that even before the fall of Adam and Eve, He made the redemption plan. The plan that when executed will ultimately redeem us from the bondage of sin, Satan and sickness. Knowledge of such love is too powerful for me to comprehend.
1. If God planned the redemption of man before the ages why did He not prevent the fall of Adam and Eve in the first place?
Genesis 3:6-7, 22-24
6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
22 Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’—23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet* like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.*
‘And now, friends,* I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.18In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah* would suffer.19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,20so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah* appointed for you, that is, Jesus,21who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.22Moses said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people* a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you.23And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out from the people.”24And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days.25You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, “And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”26When God raised up his servant,* he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.’
2. How can the predestination of Christ birth help us to understand God’s Grace and Power?
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;16for in* him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.17He himself is before all things, and in* him all things hold together.18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,22he has now reconciled* in his fleshly body* through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.
What are the lessons?
3. Why was it impossible to understand the Prophecy of Christ birth and the redemption plan?
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish.7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’—10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.* 14 Those who are unspiritual* do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are discerned spiritually.15Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. 16 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power.8Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ,9and to make everyone see* what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in* God who created all things;10so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.11This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,12in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.*
4. What do we do with the knowledge of God’s omniscient nature?
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s* will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,10so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled* you* to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.*
God loves us so much that He made plans for our redemption through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Having saved us, He desires to live in our hearts that we may love and serve Him all the days of our lives. May we continually allow His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and may we also be found in Him always.
Thank you Jesus for setting me free from sin and sorrow; give me the grace to continually yield my heart and life to you now and always. Amen.