Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on 1 Corinthians 2:14.

What We Believe - Who’s in Charge Here? (The Doctrine of the Resurrection)

Below are notes from our tenth discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed the nature of resurrection. You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Focus of this Session
  • We’re in a series dealing with some of the great questions of faith/doctrines of the church.
  • During this session we’ll focus on the question: Who’s in Charge Here? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of the Resurrection. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to compare the different accounts of the resurrection. 
  • By the end of the session, we’ll establish several truths associated with the resurrection and the implications of accepting them. 
Resurrection Accounts
Image result for women running from tomb
  • Matthew 28:1-10 - After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
  • Mark 16:1-8When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
  • Luke 24:1-12 - But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
  • John 20:1-8 - Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
The Resurrection Establishes Five Things
  • Jesus’ Identity
  • The Possibility of New Life
  • A Reason for Hope
  • The Lordship of Christ
  • Value of the material world

Friday, September 23, 2016

What We Believe - Is God Against Us? (The Doctrine of the Atonement)

Image result for atonement theologyBelow are notes from our nineteenth discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed the nature of atonement. You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Focus of this Session
  • We’re in a series dealing with some of the great questions of faith/doctrines of the church.
  • During this session we’ll focus on the question: Is God Against Us? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of the Atonement. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to consider four traditional interpretations of the atonement, the ideas presented by Paul, and how an understanding of the atonement might effect our lives and faith. 
Metaphors Often Used

The Financial Image 
  • Mark 10:45 - For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
  • Rom. 3:24 - they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
  • 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23 - For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.
  • Gal 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"
The Military Image 
  • Col 1:13; 2:15 - He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
  • 1 Cor 15:24-28 - Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For "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. When 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 Sacrificial Image
  • Mark 14:22-24 - While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
  • John 1:29 - The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
  • Rom 3:25 - whom 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;
  • 1 Cor 5:7 - Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
The Legal Image
  • Rom 5:6-11 - For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
  • 2 Cor 5:16-21 - From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  • Col 1:19-20 - For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and 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.
Romans 6:1-11

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore 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. 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. We 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. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Medical Metaphor 

Scene: Humanity has become infected with an extremely painful and destructive virus. The treatment involves allowing the disease to run it’s course, a process that’s very difficult on the patient but always effective. Because he loves them and hates to see them in pain, the doctor develops a vaccine by allowing himself to be infected and enduring the pain. Although the vaccine is given to all, only some choose to express their gratitude to the doctor. Others live as though the vaccine doesn’t exist and they haven’t received it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What We Believe - Where Is God? (The Doctrine of Incarnation)

Below are notes from our eighteenth discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed the nature of incarnation. You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Focus of this Session
  • We’re in a series dealing with some of the great questions of faith/doctrines of the church.
  • During this session we’ll focus on the question: Where is God? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of the Incarnation. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to consider the nature of Christ’s humanity and divinity. 
  • Finally, we’ll look at the implications of the incarnation. 
Matthew 1:18-25


Image result for incarnation
And the origin of Jesus Christ was thus. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they had come together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And Joseph, her husband, because he was a righteous person and didn’t want her made an example, decided to divorce her in private. And after he’d made up his mind, behold, an angel of the Lord, through a dream, appeared to him and said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the one who was conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus. For he will save his people from their sin.” And all this happened in order to fulfill the word from the Lord through the prophet, saying,
Behold the virgin will conceive and will bear a son,
and they will call his name Emmanuel.
(which is translated, “with us, is God”) 
And after Joseph arose from sleep, he did just what the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and he took his wife. And he had no marital relations with her until she had bore a son, and he called his name Jesus.

The Significance of Emmanuel 
  • God with us
  • With us is God

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What We Believe - Why Don’t You Just Be Yourself? (The Doctrine of Sin)

Below are notes from our seventh discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed the nature of sin. You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Focus of this Session
  • We’re in a series dealing with some of the great questions of faith/doctrines of the church.
  • During this session we’ll focus on the question: Why don’t we just be ourselves? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of Sin. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to define the core of sin.
At the Core of Sin
Image result for nature of sin
  • Genesis 3:1-13 - Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“ But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So 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. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
  • Romans 1:20-32God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That's why those people don't have any excuse.  They know about God, but they don't honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark.  They claim to be wise, but they are fools.  They don't worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles.  So God let these people go their own way. They did what they wanted to do, and their filthy thoughts made them do shameful things with their bodies.  They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God's creation instead of God, who will be praised forever. Amen. God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds. Since these people refused even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. That's why they do all sorts of indecent things. They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip,  say cruel things about others, and hate God. They are proud, conceited, and boastful, always thinking up new ways to do evil. These people don't respect their parents. They are stupid, unreliable, and don't have any love or pity for others. They know God has said that anyone who acts this way deserves to die. But they keep on doing evil things, and they even encourage others to do them.
  • Romans 2:1-11Some of you accuse others of doing wrong. But there is no excuse for what you do. When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things. We know that God is right to judge everyone who behaves in this way. Do you really think God won’t punish you, when you behave exactly like the people you accuse? You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of his patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him? But you are stubborn and refuse to turn to God. So you are making things even worse for yourselves on that day when he will show how angry he is and will judge the world with fairness. God will reward each of us for what we have done. He will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever. But he will show how angry and furious he can be with every selfish person who rejects the truth and wants to do evil. All who are wicked will be punished with trouble and suffering. It doesn’t matter if they are Jews or Gentiles. But all who do right will be rewarded with glory, honor, and peace, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. God doesn’t have any favorites!
  • Romans 2:12-29Those people who don’t know about God’s Law will still be punished for what they do wrong. And the Law will be used to judge everyone who knows what it says. God accepts those who obey his Law, but not those who simply hear it. Some people naturally obey the Law’s commands, even though they don’t have the Law. This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, when God appoints Jesus Christ to judge everyone’s secret thoughts, just as my message says. Some of you call yourselves Jews. You trust in the Law and take pride in God. By reading the Scriptures you learn how God wants you to behave, and you discover what is right. You are sure that you are a guide for the blind and a light for all who are in the dark. And since there is knowledge and truth in God’s Law, you think you can instruct fools and teach young people.  But how can you teach others when you refuse to learn? You preach that it is wrong to steal. But do you steal? You say people should be faithful in marriage. But are you faithful? You hate idols, yet you rob their temples. You take pride in the Law, but you disobey the Law and bring shame to God.  It is just as the Scriptures tell us, “You have made foreigners say insulting things about God.” Being circumcised is worthwhile, if you obey the Law. But if you don’t obey the Law, you are no better off than people who are not circumcised. In fact, if they obey the Law, they are as good as anyone who is circumcised. So everyone who obeys the Law, but has never been circumcised, will condemn you. Even though you are circumcised and have the Law, you still don’t obey its teachings. Just because you live like a Jew and are circumcised doesn’t make you a real Jew. To be a real Jew you must obey the Law. True circumcision is something that happens deep in your heart, not something done to your body. And besides, you should want praise from God and not from humans.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What We Believe - Who Are We? (The Doctrine of Humanity)

Image result for the nature of humanityBelow are notes from our sixth discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed what we believe about ourselves. You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Focus of this Session
  • We’re in a series dealing with some of the great questions of faith/doctrines of the church.
  • During this session we’ll focus on the question: Who are we? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of Humanity/Anthropology.
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible and our own common sense to better understand who we are.
Genesis 1:26-30

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 

We were created.
  • Defines our nature
  • Defines our relationships
We were created in the image of God.
  • Traditional explanations
    • Image result for Jesus
    • Reason 
    • Soul
    • Moral Capacity
    • Power and Dominion
  • The image reflected by Jesus
    • Romans 5:15-21 - But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
    • 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 - Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven. 
    • Colossians 1:15 - He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
  • Jesus as the definition of “image”
    • Service to God
    • Fellowship with Others
    • A Strong Sense of Self/Identity/Mission
    • The Capacity to Love