Friday, October 28, 2016

On the Road Again - Introduction

Image result for four evangelistsBelow are notes from discussion in a series entitled "On the Road Again: A Study of Luke/Acts. This week we discussed the background information for the Gospel of Luke and compared it with the other gospels. 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.

Mark
  • Background - It was probably written between A.D. 65-70 to a Christian community
  • World View - History is horizontal and can be divided into two ages, with Jesus in the middle. Mark also seems to expect Jesus to return sooner than later.
  • General Structure - The gospel is a movement from Galilee to Jerusalem, with a brief introduction and conclusion
  • View of Christ -  Mark focuses on the Son of God who suffers.
Matthew
  • Background - It was probably written between A.D. 75-95 to a Jewish/Christian community.
  • World View - History is horizontal and can be divided into two ages, with Jesus in the middle. Matthew recognizes that Jesus' return maybe not be imminent. 
  • General Structure - The gospel is a movement from Galilee to Jerusalem. Although he follows Mark's basic structure, Matthew tends to organize other material thematically.
  • View of Christ -  Matthew sees Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and draws parallels between Jesus and Moses.
John
  • Background - It was probably written between A.D. 75-90 to a Christian community that's already separated from the Jews.
  • World View - History is vertical that focuses on a person's response to Jesus.
  • General Structure - Jesus make several trips to Jerusalem. In much of the material, Jesus responds to confusion with long monologues. 
  • View of Christ -  John sees Jesus as the Word that became flesh, using the phrase "I Am" to identify Jesus's identity.
Luke
  • Background - It was probably written between A.D. 75-95 to a Jewish/Christian community. Also, Luke and Acts are two volumes of the same book.
  • World View - History is horizontal and can be divided into three ages: the Age of the Israel, the Age of Jesus and John the Baptist, and the Age of the Church.
  • General Structure - The gospel is a movement from Galilee to Jerusalem, and Acts is a movement from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
  • View of Christ -  Innocent sees Jesus as the innocent Son of God who was crucified and resurrected and who ascends, leaving this church to continue his work in the world.

Friday, October 14, 2016

What We Believe - How Should I Live? (The Doctrine of Sanctification)

Image result for sanctificationBelow are notes from our twelfth discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed the doctrine of sanctification. 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: How should I live? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of Sanctification. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to understand better the nature of our response. 

The Christian life is radical.
  • Money
    • Matthew 5:40-42: and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
    • Matthew 6:24: No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. 
    • Mark 10:17-22: As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
  • Use of Force
    • Matthew 5:38-39, 43-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; …You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    • Matthew 26:47-54: While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”
  • Family Responsibilities
    • Matthew 10:34-39: Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
    • Luke 9:57-62: As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
  • Personal Piety
    • Matthew 6:1-16: Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
The Christian life is demanding.
  • James 2:14-19: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.
The Christian life is costly.
  • Use of money
  • Use of force
  • Family responsibilities
  • Personal piety
The Christian life is inspired.
  • Galatians 5:22-26: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What We Believe - What’s New? (The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit)

Image result for holy spiritBelow are notes from our eleventh 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: What’s new? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to understand better the nature of spirituality and the ways one might grow spiritually. 
Characteristics of the Holy Spirit 
  • At work in God’s creation and preservation of the world
    • Genesis 1:2 - the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 
    • Genesis 2:7 - then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. 
    • Psalm 104:30 - When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. 
  • Source of all culture, art and creativity
    • Exodus 31:1-6 - The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you:
    • Philippians 4:8-9 - Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. 
  • On the side of the poor
    • Isaiah 11:1-5 - A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. 
    • Isaiah 42:1-4 - Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. 
  • Independent
    • John 3:8 - The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 
  • Jesus bore, promised and sent the Spirit. 
    • Luke 4:18-19 - ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
    • John 14:25-26 - ”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.