Welcome to this Blog!

The weekly Bible Study will be posted each week, as it becomes available.
You are welcome to attend the study group. We also encourage you to join this blog as a follower and to add comments.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The New Covenant

25 March 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Cast me not away from your presence O Lord
Take not your Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me, the joy of your salvation
And renew a right Spirit within me (2X)            

Theme: Christ, the Image of God

Topic: The New Covenant

Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
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 Lord33But 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. 

Covenant is an agreement between two or more parties, and entails specific expectations and responsibilities from those involved.  Scripture is generally divided into two testaments (i.e. covenants: Old and New); while the old covenant speaks of the Mosaic Law, the new covenant (good news or gospel) relates to a new life in Christ.  A common question that arises in discussing these two covenants is why didn’t God just make the new covenant?  God started with the old covenant for us to acknowledge our sinfulness and inability to save ourselves.  In the old covenant, believers hear from God through prophets, but in the new covenant, we have a personal relationship with Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  The old covenant requires continual sacrifices of animals for atonement of sins; the new covenant involves repentance from sin, faith that the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, has washed away our sins, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

1. Discuss some of the differences between the old and new covenants.
Romans 7:7-25
What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’8But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead. 9I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived 10and I died, and the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. 13 Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. 15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. 

Hebrews 9:1-28
Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. 4In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail. 6 Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; 7but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. 8By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. 9This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper, 10but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right. 11 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 tentand 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.

2. What are the lessons for us in John 12:20-33 regarding the new covenant?
John 12:20-33
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. 27 ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.28Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’30Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.31Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

Hebrews 10:1-18
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshippers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? 3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 6 in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God” (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’ 8When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 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.

3. How do we participate in the new covenant?
Psalm 51:1-13
Refrain: Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offences. Wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin. R For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. R And so you are justified when you speak and upright in your judgement. Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, a sinner from my mother's womb. R For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly. Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed. R Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. R Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy Spirit from me. Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit. R

Romans 8:1-17
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot,8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Hebrews 5:5-10
So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’; 6as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.


The new covenant involves repentance from sin, faith that the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, has washed away our sins, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Fifth Sunday in Lent)

Most merciful God, by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, you created humanity anew. May the power of his victorious cross transform those who turn in faith to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Saved by Grace

18 March 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Amazing Grace

Theme: Christ, the Image of God

Topic: Saved by Grace

Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ 6Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lordto take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.8And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ 9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Grace is unmerited favour. God’s grace runs even deeper than the foregoing, because according to Scripture while we are sinners, the Lord sent His Son to die for us, reconciling all people to Him.  However, for us to fully experience the grace of God, we need to believe in His Son Jesus Christ.  That is the basis for a relationship with God our Maker.  He loves us more than we will ever know, and genuinely wants the best for us, and that we will spend eternity with Him.  However, we doubt or misunderstand God, take His grace for granted or even reject Him, from time to time.  The good news is that regardless of our rebellious ways, God still loves us and wants us to be reconciled to Him.  No matter how far we have gone from the Lord, His loving arms are long enough to bring us back into His fold if we accept His grace through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  

1. What is your understanding of the grace of God.  What makes it amazing?
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
   those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
   from the east and from the west,
   from the north and from the south. 
17 Some were sick through their sinful ways,
   and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
   and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them,
   and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
   and tell of his deeds with songs of joy. 

Romans 8:31-39
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;  we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’  37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Ephesians 2:1-10
You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

2. What are the lessons for us in John 3:14-21 regarding the Grace of God?
John 3:14-21
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 ‘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.’ 

3. Discuss some of the things that hinder us from experiencing the grace of God. How do we overcome them?
2 Chronicles 7:13-16
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16For now I have chosen and consecrated this house so that my name may be there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

Isaiah 59:1-15
See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
2 Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.
4 No one brings suit justly, no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity.
5 They hatch adders’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web;
whoever eats their eggs dies, and the crushed egg hatches out a viper.
6 Their webs cannot serve as clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they rush to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways.
8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths.
Their roads they have made crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace. 
9 Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us;
we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead.
11 We all growl like bears; like doves we moan mournfully.
We wait for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions before you are many, and our sins testify against us.
Our transgressions indeed are with us, and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning away from following our God,
talking oppression and revolt, conceiving lying words and uttering them from the heart.
14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance;
for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. 
The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

Romans 6:1-14
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.


No matter how far we have gone from the Lord, His loving arms are long enough to bring us back into His fold if we accept His grace through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Fourth Sunday in Lent)

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world, evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. 

The Power of God

11 March 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Forty days and forty nights

Theme: Christ, the Image of God

Topic: The Power of God

Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
   and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ 
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Power denotes the ability to perform a defined action.  We serve a powerful God who created everything, seen and unseen.  He made us and without Him we can do nothing.  He is able and in Him we live, move and have our being.  In love He sacrificed His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, making a way for us to have new life in our Lord and Saviour.  This was the greatest expression of His power.  Message of the Cross is the power of God.  That Christ came, died, rose from the dead, ascended and will come again to take all believers to be with Him in Heaven.  Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we became free from all that held us captive since the fall of Adam and Eve- sin, sickness, pain, death and all manner of evil- and became reconciled to God.  During this period of Lent, let us remember that the same Power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in our lives through the Ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

1. What is your understanding of the power of God?  Contrast it with other manifestations of power. 
Isaiah 40:9-17, 25-26
9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
   lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’
10 See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. 
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
   and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
   and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?
14 Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice?
Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales;
   see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 
25 To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. 

John 1:1-5, 9-18
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 being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 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. 

Acts 17:22-31
Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.”  29Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent,31because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

2. What are the lessons for us in John 2:13-22 regarding the power of God? 
John 2:13-22
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’17His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ 18The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ 19Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Hebrews 12:18, 22-28
You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven!26At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’ 27This phrase ‘Yet once more’ indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;

3. In what ways do we experience the power of God in our world and lives? 
Exodus 20:1-17
Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9For six days you shall labour and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to theLord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. 12 Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 You shall not murder. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. 17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Psalm 19:1-14
Refrain: The words of the Lord are spirit and life.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. One day tells its tale to another, and one night imparts knowledge to another. R Although they have no words or language, and their voices are not heard, Their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world. R In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun; it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber; it rejoices like a champion to run its course. It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens and runs about to the end of it again; nothing is hidden from its burning heat. R The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent. The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to the eyes. R The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb. R By them also is your servant enlightened, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can tell how often he offends? cleanse me from my secret faults. R Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not get dominion over me; then shall I be whole and sound, and innocent of a great offense. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. R

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.


During this period of Lent, let us remember that the same Power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in our lives through the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Third Sunday in Lent)

Father of mercy, alone we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves. When we are discouraged by our weakness, strengthen us to follow Christ, our pattern and our hope; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.