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Thursday, December 13, 2012

We Resume meeting in the New Year

January 9, 2013

Harvest of righteousness

12 December 2012

Opening Prayer/Worship

Song: Praising the Lord always

Theme: Behold, Jesus is coming again

Topic: Harvest of righteousness

Reading: Philippians 1:3-11

Last week, our discussion was on how Christ is our righteousness; that the righteousness God seeks in us can only come through our commitment and faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  In today’s study, we will be discussing the nature and attributes of our need for the righteousness of Christ.  Our text from Philippians 1:10-11 put it this way: ‘so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, - having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God’.  The basis or foundation for producing the harvest of righteousness comes through first, knowing and believing in Christ; then secondly, allowing the Spirit of Christ to control our thoughts, words and deeds.  Then the love of Christ will be flowing through us to everyone we meet.  However, the transformation is not instant, but rather gradual; with each passing day we get closer to Jesus, becoming more and more like Him. 

1. How is that we need the nature Christ in our lives to be considered righteous by God?  Romans 3:21-26.

2. What are the things we can do to keep living in the righteousness of Christ? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; Hebrews 11:6-16; James 2:14-26.

3. What happens then, if we fall into temptation?  Do we lose the righteousness from God?  Romans 6:1-4, 8-18; 1 John 1:5-10, 2:1-2.


Through the grace of God, we are made righteous, and through His grace, we are kept righteous.  May we continue to seek the righteousness of Christ, that He may fill us with His Holy Spirit and keep us holy and blameless until His coming again.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Second Sunday of Advent)
Almighty God, who sent Your servant John the Baptist to prepare Your people to welcome the Messiah, inspire us, the ministers and stewards of Your truth, to turn our disobedient hearts to You, that when the Christ shall come again to be our Judge, we may stand with confidence before His Glory; who is alive and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Lord is our righteousness

5 December 2012

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn:  Rock of Ages

Theme: Behold, Jesus is coming again

Topic: The Lord is our righteousness

Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Righteousness, in terms of Scriptural implication, is a state of being right with God.  The Scripture described some individuals as righteous; individuals like Abraham, Job and Cornelius.  The hallmark of the righteous is their strong desire to seek and please God.  They may have had some faults or setbacks, yet it pleased God to call them righteous.  This is because these individuals sought and lived in obedience to the Lord.  It is God who knows and declares any righteous, and according to Scripture, this will be His basis for determining those that will reign with Christ eternally.  Also, the righteousness that God desires does not come from good works.  According to Scripture, our righteous acts are like filthy rags.  The righteousness that God desires can only exist in us through our commitment, faith, love and relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.  When we have Christ in our lives, we are counted as righteous by God.  Then, acts of true love and righteousness come from us, and not the other way round.  Christ is our peace and righteousness, and our prayer as we celebrate His birth and second coming, is that God will find in us the righteousness of Christ.

1. What is your understanding of righteousness? 
Psalm 143:1-2
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
   give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
   answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgement with your servant,
   for no one living is righteous before you. 

Isaiah 64:1-9
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
   so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
2 as when fire kindles brushwood
   and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
   so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
   you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 From ages past no one has heard,
   no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
   who works for those who wait for him.
5 You meet those who gladly do right,
   those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
   because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
   and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls on your name,
   or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
   and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8 Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
   we are the clay, and you are our potter;
   we are all the work of your hand.
9 Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
   and do not remember iniquity for ever.
   Now consider, we are all your people.

Ezekiel 33:10-20
Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: ‘Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’ 11Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? 12And you, mortal, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not save them when they transgress; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, it shall not make them stumble when they turn from their wickedness; and the righteous shall not be able to live by their righteousness when they sin. 13Though I say to the righteous that they shall surely live, yet if they trust in their righteousness and commit iniquity, none of their righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 14Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, yet if they turn from their sin and do what is lawful and right— 15if the wicked restore the pledge, give back what they have taken by robbery, and walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity—they shall surely live, they shall not die. 16None of the sins that they have committed shall be remembered against them; they have done what is lawful and right, they shall surely live. 17 Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just’, when it is their own way that is not just. 18When the righteous turn from their righteousness, and commit iniquity, they shall die for it. 19And when the wicked turn from their wickedness, and do what is lawful and right, they shall live by it. 20Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge all of you according to your ways!

2. What is the place of righteousness in the second coming of Christ? 
Zephaniah 2:1-3
Gather together, gather,
   O shameless nation,
2 before you are driven away
   like the drifting chaff,
before there comes upon you
   the fierce anger of the Lord,
before there comes upon you
   the day of the Lord’s wrath.
3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
   who do his commands;
seek righteousness, seek humility;
   perhaps you may be hidden
   on the day of the Lord’s wrath.

Romans 3:21-26
But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

Philippians 3:7-14
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

3.   If God desires us to be righteous, why does it appear to be difficult? 
      List some of the benefits of having the righteousness of Christ. 
Psalm 37:23-26, 55:22
23 Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
   when he delights in our way;
24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
   for the Lord holds us by the hand. 
25 I have been young, and now am old,
   yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
   or their children begging bread.
26 They are ever giving liberally and lending,
   and their children become a blessing. 
Psalm 55:22
22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
   and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
   the righteous to be moved. 
Psalm 89:14-18
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
   steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
   who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
16 they exult in your name all day long,
   and extol your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength;
   by your favour our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the Lord,
   our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 32:1-2, 16-20
1 See, a king will reign in righteousness,
   and princes will rule with justice. 
2 Each will be like a hiding-place from the wind,
   a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
   like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
   and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 
17 The effect of righteousness will be peace,
   and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever. 
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
   in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places. 
19 The forest will disappear completely,
   and the city will be utterly laid low. 
20 Happy will you be who sow beside every stream,
   who let the ox and the donkey range freely.

Galatians 2:11-21
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction.13And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’ 15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.17But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. 19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ;20and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.


God calls us to be like Him- holy and righteous.  He knows that we can only attain this through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ; hence He gave Him up for us.  May we continue to grow and mature in our love, faith and knowledge of Christ, that when He appears, we shall reign with Him eternally.

Closing Prayer (Collect for First Sunday of Advent)
Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life
in which Your Son Jesus Christ
came to us in great humility,
that on the last day,
when He shall come again in His glorious majesty
to judge both the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through Him who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever. Amen.