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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Him who loves us

28 November 2012

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn:  Abide With Me

Theme: Behold, Jesus is coming again

Topic: Him who loves us

Reading: Revelation 1:4b-8
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and madeus to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

We just begun the season of Advent- a time we remember the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is also a season of preparation for the most celebrated period of the year- Christmas.  In the next few weeks, our discussion will be mainly on the second coming of Jesus Christ.  The suffering, death and resurrection of the Son of God were the Creator’s demonstration of His immense love for us.  According to Scripture, while we were yet sinners, Christ came and died for us, paying the price for the sin of the whole world once and for all.  This was not an after-thought but a deliberate act of sacrifice built upon love.  God, who made us, humbled Himself, becoming one of us but yet was without sin; and died that we may live.  In today’s study, our focus will be on how God loves us so much that He gave up His only begotten Son, reconciling us to Himself.  God’s love for us is incomparable; He loves the rich and poor, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, regardless of where you belong or did in the past.  The One who is, who was and who is to come loves us all, and is coming back to reign with those that believe in Him.

1. Why does God love us so much? 
John 3:16-21
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’ 

Revelation 1:4b-6, 20:1-15
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and madeus to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
(20:1-15) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. 7 When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. 9They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from heaven and consumed them.10And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. 13And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;15and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

2. What should be our response to the love of God in our lives?  
Isaiah 44:1-11, 21-23
But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
   Israel whom I have chosen! 
2 Thus says the Lord who made you,
   who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
   Jeshurun whom I have chosen. 
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
   and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
   and my blessing on your offspring. 
4 They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
   like willows by flowing streams. 
5 This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’,
   another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, ‘The Lord’s’,
   and adopt the name of Israel. 
6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
   and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
   besides me there is no god. 
7 Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
   let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?
   Let them tell us what is yet to be. 
8 Do not fear, or be afraid;
   have I not told you from of old and declared it?
   You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
   There is no other rock; I know not one. 
9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. 10Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? 11Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.
21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
   and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
   O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 
22 I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,
   and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you. 
23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
   shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
   O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
   and will be glorified in Israel.

Matthew 24:36-51
‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. 45 ‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, 49and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3. Contrast the first and second coming of Christ, in the light of God’s love for us?  
Matthew 24:3-14, 23-35
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ 4Jesus answered them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Messiah!” and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs. 9 ‘Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another.11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.13But anyone who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. 23Then if anyone says to you, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “There he is!”—do not believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25Take note, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, “Look! He is in the wilderness”, do not go out. If they say, “Look! He is in the inner rooms”, do not believe it. 27For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
29 ‘Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
   and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 
30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 5:1-11
For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(5:1-11) Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.11Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.


God, who made us, loves us beyond our imaginations, and calls us daily to fellowship with Him- loving and serving Him.  Let us remember as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s first coming, that He is coming again to receive all who believe in Him. Let us remember, and live for Him always.

Closing Prayer
Thank You Father for all you have done, and continue to do for us in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  As we fellowship with You in our daily lives, keep us ready for the second coming of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.  Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Holy Spirit testifies to us

21 November 2012


Opening Prayer/Worship


Song: I love the Man from Galilee


Theme: Be filled with the Holy Spirit


Topic: The Holy Spirit testifies to us


Reading: Hebrews 10:11-25

And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins.12But when Christ* had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’,13and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,
16 ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds’,
17he also adds,
‘I will remember* their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’
18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19 Therefore, my friends,* since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh),21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.



Continuing on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, today we will be discussing on how the Spirit of Christ constantly brings to our remembrance what God did for us on the cross of Calvary.  How He loves us so much that He will never allow anyone to perish, who confesses and believes that Jesus is Lord; that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.  It is through the testimony and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we have the confidence to approach God boldly just as the Scripture declares that we should.  It is through the voice of the Holy Spirit that we are constantly reminded that we are sons and daughters of the Most High God.  Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our faith is continually built up and made perfect.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives ensures we have uninterrupted fellowship with our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He reminds us daily that the price for our sins has been paid in full; that we are forgiven and redeemed, and that we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.



1. What does the Holy Spirit testify to us about, and how does He do it? 

Jeremiah 31:31-37

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,* says the Lord.33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

35 Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 If this fixed order were ever to cease
from my presence, says the Lord,
then also the offspring of Israel would cease
to be a nation before me for ever.

37 Thus says the Lord:
If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will reject all the offspring of Israel
because of all they have done,

says the Lord.


Hebrews 9:11-28

But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come,* then through the greater and perfect* tent* (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation),12he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.13For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified,14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit* offered himself without blemish to God, purify our* conscience from dead works to worship the living God! 15 For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.*16Where a will* is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.17For a will* takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.18Hence not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.19For when every commandment had been told to all the people by Moses in accordance with the law, he took the blood of calves and goats,* with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people,20saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.’21And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent* and all the vessels used in worship.22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these.24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.25Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own;26for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself.27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement,28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.


John 15:26-27

‘When the Advocate* comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.


2. Why do we need to be reminded continually of what the Lord has done for us in Christ?  

Hebrews 10:19-25

Therefore, my friends,* since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh),21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


John 1:1-4, 10-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2He was in the beginning with God.3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being4in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.11He came to what was his own,* and his own people did not accept him.12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,* full of grace and truth.15(John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” ’)16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son,* who is close to the Father’s heart,* who has made him known.


1 John 2:20-29

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.*21I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth.22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?* This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.23No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also.24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.25And this is what he has promised us,* eternal life. 26 I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you.27As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him. *28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.


3. How do we apply in our lives this Ministry of the Holy Spirit?  

1 Samuel 2:1-10

1 Hannah prayed and said,
‘My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.*
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my* victory.

2 ‘There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honour.*
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.

9 ‘He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
10 The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High* will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.’


Jeremiah 29:11-14

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,14I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.


1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-28

Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters,* of the good news* that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand,2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters* at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.*7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.8Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18Then those also who have died* in Christ have perished.19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.*21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.24Then comes the end,* when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.27For ‘God* has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection’, it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him.28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.





The Holy Spirit reminds us daily that we are the children of the Most High God.  Let us then approach Him through our prayers, praises and worship, confident that the Lord Who called us has made a way for us to fellowship with Him through Christ and in Christ, now and always. Amen.


Closing Prayer

Father we are so grateful to You for constantly reminding us of Your great deed of mercy and love towards us.  Enable us to listen and hear with gratitude to You, the voice of Your Holy Spirit within us at all times. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.  Amen.