Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Respect life

Here is the outline of the lesson for 2014-01-19, Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. It’s based on Psalm 139. As I told the class, even if you aren’t thinking about the topic of this lesson, it would be a blessing to your soul to memorize this Psalm. Even though I forgot the outline (I left it on the printer at home), I managed to remember most of it. I got a little preachy toward the end …


  • 139:1–6
  • 139:7–12
  • 139:13–18
  • 139:19–24

The basic outline of the psalm

  • God knows me. (1–6)
    • ASK Who does God know to this level of detail? (everyone)
  • I can’t escape from him. (7–12)
    • ASK Who can find a place where God can’t reach him? (no one)
  • He knows every detail of how I was made, down to the molecule. (13–18)
    • ASK How much does God know about everyone? (everything)
  • I hate God’s enemies, but what if I am one of them? (19–24)
    • ASK Why should I be merciful to those who hate God?
      • because to some extent, I am one of them
      • God may lead them to repent and trust in Christ


  • The focus is on the 3rd section (13–18).
  • If God knows how I am made, and he made me that way on purpose, what should my attitude be toward how I am made? (respect for life as made by God)
    • What about characteristics that can be corrected by surgery? (cleft lip/palatte?)
  • We should have the same attitude about everyone God has made.
  • What about those who don’t share our attitude?
    • Pro-choice?
    • Pro-euthenasia
      • The Liverpool Care Pathway was developed by Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Liverpool’s Marie Curie Hospice in the late 1990s for the care of terminally ill cancer patients. Since then the scope of the LCP has been extended to include all patients deemed dying.
      • In 2012, it was revealed that just over half of the total of NHS trusts had received or were due to receive financial rewards to hit targets associated with the use of the care pathway.[1] These payments are made under a system known as “Commissioning for Quality and Innovation” (CQUIN), with local NHS commissioners paying trusts for meeting targets to “reward excellence” in care.
      • In 2012 … the government advised that NHS hospitals should phase out the use of the LCP over the next 6–12 months, and that “NHS England should work with [Clinical Commissioning Groups] to bring about an immediate end to local financial incentives for hospitals to promote a certain type of care for dying patients, including the LCP.

But it’s bigger than health care.

  • George -> Elizabeth.
  • It is probably coming to your neighborhood, workplace, restaurants.
  • So far, urbanized areas are more affected than suburbs, but It is coming.

How should we respond?

  • Humility before God (per the psalm: “search me, O God & know my heart” …
  • Knowledge that for anyone who is breathing, repentance and faith are still possible.
  • Prayer for our neighbors.
  • ASK What would we do if a transgendered person or a flamboyantly homosexual person came to worship at Wildwood? What would you do?
    • 1 Cor 6:11 “… and such were some of you.”
  • Knowing the Gospel and being ready to share it:
    • In a short sentence: “Christ came into the world to save sinners.” I Tim 1:15
    • In a longer sentence: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3–4
    • In a familiar sentence: “For God so loved the world that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jesus prays

This is the outline for the lesson of 2014-01-12, on John 17. The outline is short, and (I felt like) class didn’t go well, at least the teaching part. The handout I gave out follows the outline. It’s probably better than the lesson proper.


Like a lot of John’s Gospel, this chapter is so full that it’s almost numbing to try to organize it into one lesson.


  • 17:1–3
  • 17:4–6
  • 17:7–9
  • 17:10–12
  • 17:13–15
  • 17:16–18
  • 17:19–21
  • 17:22–24
  • 17:25–26

The prayer

ASK Who does Jesus pray for, and what does he pray?

  • Himself
    • That he would be glorified so that he could glorify the Father. (v 1, 5)
  • The disciples
    • That the Father would keep them in his name. (v 11)
    • That the Father would keep them from the evil one (v 15)
    • Sanctify them. (v 17) ASK What does sanctify mean? (To set apart for holy service)
  • Us
    • That we will all be one. (v 21)
    • To be with Jesus where he is to see his glory. (v 24)

The assertions about believers

ASK What does Jesus say about believers?

  • We are in the world (v 11)
  • Not of the world (vv 14, 16)
  • Sent into the world (v 18)


The Father Gave the Son … John 17
authority to give eternal life v. 2
people out of this world vv. 2, 6, 9, 24
work to accomplish v. 4
words v. 8
his name vv. 11, 12
glory vv. 22, 24
The Son Gives Believers … John 17
eternal life v. 2
the Father’s word vv. 8, 14
manifestation of the Father’s name vv. 6, 26
glory v. 22
The Son Asks the Father to … John 17
glorify him vv. 1, 5
keep believers in the Father’s name v. 11
keep believers from the evil one v. 15
sanctify believers in the truth v. 17
make believers one v. 21
Jesus’ Followers and the World John 17
they are sent into the world v. 18
they are in the world v. 11
they are not of the world v. 16
the world has hated them v. 14
their unity with each other and union with God may cause the world to believe the Father sent the Son v. 21

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Full of Jesus's Joy

This was the lesson from 2013-12-29. We may have covered as much as half of it.


Can we be the enemy of someone and the friend of him/her at the same time?


  • 15:1–3
  • 15:4–6
  • 15:7–8
  • 15:9–11
  • 15:12–15
  • 15:16–17
  • 15:18–20
  • 15:21–23
  • 15:24–25

The vine (1–11)

  • This chapter is not the first place in the Bible that the “vine” language shows up.
    • Isaiah 5:1–7. Here’s verses 1 & 2: “Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it ith wchoice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.”
    • In contrast to the “false” vine of Israel, Jesus is the “true vine.” (This doesn’t mean every individual Israelite was false, but the nation as a group.)
  • ASK What are the 2 kinds of branches? (Unproductive & productive)
  • ASK What happens to the unproductive branches? (v. 2: taken away; v. 6: thrown away and burned.)
    • ASK What does “burned” mean? (Eternal punishment – hell)
  • ASK What happens to the productive branches? (v. 2: pruned to bear better fruit)
    • SAY Let’s talk about pruning: Does anyone have an example of how you have been pruned, of some part of your life being taken away so that you can be more productive in something else?
  • ASK What other word do you have for “abide” (v. 4)?
    • Remain
    • Stay joined
    • Live in
    • Remain united to
    • Go on growing in
  • Each word tries to get to the idea. My idea: Stay planted in me, and just as the soil the vine is planted in becomes part of the vine, I become a part of the believer. The longer and deeper you’re planted in that soil, the more it becomes a part of you and the firmer your roots take hold of it.
  • Every analogy fails at some point. It can’t help it. SAY If you think I take this too far, call me on it.
  • ASK But now, what does “abiding in Christ” mean in practical terms?
    • Bible reading/study
    • Prayer
    • Worship
    • Service
    ASK Does Jesus single out any of these? (Bible: “my words” in v. 7)


  • ASK In v. 7, does anything worry you about “ask whatever you wish”?
  • ASK What if you ask for something God doesn’t want? Is he obligated to give it to you anyway?
    • What about James’s “You ask and you do not have because you ask wrongly”?
    • The key is abiding in Jesus and his words abiding in you. Then you are aligned with what God wants.
    • SAY Get to know God’s word.
      • Start on a Bible reading plan and don’t give up on it.
      • Memorize big chunks, not just cherry-picked verses. Ideas:
        • Psalm 139
        • Romans 5
        • 2 Corinthians 4
      • For more on the benefits of Bible memorization & meditation, see Psalm 1.
  • This abiding thing is the key to bearing fruit (v. 8)


  • SAY In v. 9, Jesus says one of the most astounding things he ever said: The Father’s love for me is like my love for you. I have a hard time comprehending the depth of that. In Chapter 17, Jesus in his prayer talks to the Father about the love the Father had for him “before the foundation of the world.” (17:24)
  • SAY And Jesus loves his own people that much.
  • ASK In v. 10, how does Jesus tell us to abide in his love? (Keep his commands)
  • ASK In v. 11, what is the result of abiding in his love? (His joy in us, filling us up)
  • ASK What does he mean when he says “My joy”? (The joy that he has) And you thought v. 9 was something.
  • ASK Which commands is he talking about? (v. 12: Love one another)

The command: Love each other

  • ASK What is the greatest love? (Lay down your life for your friend.)
  • ASK How does this work in light of Romans 6:7–8 (“when we were sinners Christ died for us”)?
    • If Jesus laid down his life for his friends
    • AND we were sinners, enemies of God (Romans 5:10)
    • How did we get changed into Jesus’s friends?

(*Extra points to anyone who points out v. 16)