This is a weekly adult Bible study, and for the coming few weeks we are looking at what is pre-occupying many Christians: the coming of the Lord. We have studied the hope that was evident in faithful people waiting for the Messiah to be born, and our hope that has been made real by His coming. Now we are going to look at the preparations made in advance of His coming, and challenge ourselves with the application of these things in our day.
Isa.40:3-5; Lk.3:1-22 (What was/is baptism all about?)
Questions for starters:
1. If the prophecy by Isaiah was about a coming king, why was the cry to be heard in the wilderness, away from the city? Where should God’s highway lead to?
2. What is the point of raising valleys and flattening mountains about? Did that happen when Jesus was born? What are the obstacles in our lives?
3. In Lk.3:3 (and see Matthew 3), John prepares the Jews to receive the Messiah by baptizing them; where did he get that procedure from?
4. What is meant by: “…a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”; in what way were they preparing to meet their saviour?
5. John said that the Messiah would baptize them with the Holy Spirit (Lk.3:16); how was that fulfilled?
6. Why was Jesus baptized (Lk.3:21, and see Matthew 3:13-17)?
7. What did Jesus mean by saying He had another “baptism to be baptized with” (Lk.12:50) and why did He use that description? What was He preparing for?
8. When Philip used another prophecy of Isaiah (see Acts 8:26-39) it resulted in the person he spoke to getting baptized. Why? And what can we learn from this account about how and when we should get baptized today?
9. What is the connection between being baptized and being part of God’s kingdom?
Many think at Christmastime of the coming of Christ. People hoped for it to happen before Jesus was born. So we could call this a season of hope. At our Food for Thought Bible studies over the next month we’ll look at the coming of Messiah, the promise of it, the fulfillment of that promise, and the effects for us. Here are the starter questions, this week about “the hope”:
Isaiah 9:1-2,6-7 first.
1. This is a prophecy about the Messiah coming. What is meant by “people walking in darkness”?
2. When did Isaiah expect his predictions to happen? Is his prophecy all fulfilled now, or is some still to be hoped for?
3. Why is the order of v.6 important? Would our hope be any different if it said: “For to us a son is born, to us a child is given”?
4. Why is Messiah being a wonderful counsellor a source of hope?
5. If Messiah is “Mighty God” does that mean he is less than “Almighty God”? Were the Jews to hope for a God-like man or man who is God?
6. Why would the Son of God be described as “Everlasting Father”?
7. Is the “prince of peace” a lesser title than King? Why would “prince” be used in this prophecy? See also Acts 5:31
Romans 13:11-14 next.
1. What is meant by the “salvation” mentioned in v.11?
2. If we are truly hoping for that salvation to arrive, what difference should it make in our lives now? Is that a vain hope?
You may have other points to raise about this Bible passage. Let us know, and if you’re local, come and join in at 7:30pm!
Once a month in the cooler months (!) we are delighted to provide a free soup and bagel lunch, in the comfortable Community Room of the Mount Forest Library Basement (which is conveniently served by an elevator). Our next meal is currently planned for December 11th.
Don’t miss out on sharing in these events.
Check local notice boards in the Library and local stores (including the Thrift Store) for the date of the next lunch (and we’ll post it on this web page too, as above).
Lunch is served between 12 noon and 1:00pm. All are welcome.
Our weekly Bible study for adults is to focus tonight on Philippians chapter 3. Here are the starter questions:
1. “Rejoice in the Lord” is a common phrase in the Bible; what does it involve?
2. How can we “worship by the Spirit of God”(v.3)? Is it true of all Christian worship?
3. What is so special about the tribe of Benjamin that Paul would emphasize that genealogy?
4. Which church did Paul persecute?
5. “…knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” and “…know Him” (v.8,10) must involve more than just head knowledge of facts about Jesus; what does Paul mean?
6. Is Paul doubting he will be resurrected (v.11)? Or what is he thinking about here?
7. Verse 13 and 14 are a lifestyle motto of sorts; any comments?
8. What are the implications and applications of verse 16?
9. If we want people to imitate us, what must we be careful about (v.17)?
10. What is the impact on our present lives of our citizenship being in heaven?
11. In what ways does v.21 provide comfort to us?
You may have other points to raise about this Bible passage. Let us know, and if you’re local, come and join in at 7:30pm!
For the past century, the results of monthly studies by many different groups all focusing on the same portion of the Bible at the same time, have been documented and published as Bible Studies Magazine (see the sample magazine cover below).
A variety of views on different Scriptures and topics usually emerges and editors have when necessary added a few comments to keep everyone on track.
You can use this resource now on the web. You’ll find the treasure trove at:
Bible Studies Archive
You can check the index there and choose to research a specific Bible book or topic.
After you’ve tried it, by all means leave a comment here. And if you find it useful, do share the link with your Bible-studying friends!
For those interested in a serious but practical Bible study, we enjoy a weekly evening study time for adults, and welcome newcomers. We meet each Monday evening at 7:30pm. Just contact us and we’ll let you know the venue for the upcoming get together. And we can send you a copy of a list of Starter Questions we are using in studying the current topic (which is the Bible book of Philippians).
Young people from the Mount Forest area who have attended Mount Forest Camp in the Summer often want an excuse to get together with fellow campers during the Fall, Winter and Spring. So teens with that kind of interest, who want to attend an event that is a good mix of fun activities and sound and applicable Bible-based information-sharing, get together to enjoy FAST Food for Youth. (Oh, and yes, food is usually on the menu too!).
CHECK THE FACEBOOK PAGE FOR DETAILS OF NEXT GET-TOGETHER
You can ask to join the FaceBook page at: FAST Food. Or if you know a fellow teen who already attends, just hitch a ride with them to the next monthly event.
And be thinking about attending Deep Freeze at Mount Forest Camp! Details to follow, but check out our post on last year’s Deep Freeze below.
Well, looks like the pine trees were right and Environment Canada not so right! Deep Freeze is the right name for a winter camp for teens, currently underway at Mount Forest Camp. Read on to see why we thought we were in for a deep chill. Perhaps it will eventually be discovered that trees have a memory ability that permits them to prepare for future weather conditions, not just reflect the season that’s ending!
October Post: The church here has the benefit of being located only 20 minutes drive from Mount Forest Camp, which it sponsors. The Camp was established in 1963, but largely served city children, for whom a week in the countryside was a rare pleasure. City kids are still a large proportion of campers, but local needs have also been met by running a Day Camp. This is for 5-10 year olds and the program runs from 9.30am-3:30pm each day. The large number of repeat campers at all the camps confirms they are highly popular with campers and families who bring them.
This year, the Camp has introduced a new website with the capability to register and pay online. Within 24 hours of its launch, one week of children’s camp was completely booked for boys! Teen Camp is now over. Between Christmas and New Year some of those hardy teens will want to brave winter conditions and return for Deep Freeze. Pine trees here are producing cones abundantly, which some say is the sign of a harsh winter to come, so it looks like “Deep Freeze” may be aptly named! What is more certain is that those attending any of the camps this year will have left with warm hearts. The Camp advertises itself as “100 acres of natural beauty; a Christian environment to grow in.” One of the growth opportunities for young people in churches of God is to serve as a volunteer worker at Camp, and several of our teens from the Mount Forest House Church have enjoyed that experience this year.
It is very encouraging to recognize that all counselling staff at Mount Forest Camp work on a voluntary basis. This helps keep fees low (Day Camp is only $40 per week, all meals, snacks, crafts and everything else included!).
For some really good pictures of the Camp and for lots of additional information, visit http://mountforestcamp.com/
Another good Christmas parade. Our float this year had the text “The Lord is my light and my salvation” emblazoned across the front. You can see another view in this pic.
Once again we were glad to hand out hundreds of candy canes, with brief Gospel verses about the birth of Messiah attached.
After the Parade we invited visitors to the Library basement as usual, to warm up with hot chocolate or hot apple cider, and some excellent cookies!
The countdown has begun!
Although we share in the fun of the season, we know that for God the Father the birth of Christ was a very serious event, upon which would hang the eternal future of every human being. Praise God for the plan of salvation!
Those, perhaps the minority of Bible readers, who read the Old Testament prophetic books, may miss some of their pointedness because of a lack of awareness of the historical context in which the prophets first spoke. Some of the books make the setting quite clear. For instance, Haggai was speaking to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. So we can date his words quite well. It still needs an appreciation of why the Jews had been led away captives in the first place, how long they had to stay there, which world leader would issue a command for them to return, etc. All these matters can be found by further study. Then there is the matter of broader context; what was going on in the nations generally.
This is worth noting when we read Jeremiah. It is helpful to know that there had been three competing world powers during his times. Egypt still considered itself a major player. Assyria, which Jonah hated so much (perhaps because he understood how cruel they would be to Israel), was declining in power and having to battle the up-and-coming Babylonians. The good king Josiah of Judah seems to have made a fatal mistake in deciding to try to ward off the Egyptian armies when they were on the way to fight on the side of the Assyrians against the Babylonians. The first round of those battles may have been a draw, but eventually Egypt would be forced back to its own borders and then subjugated to Babylon, after the Babylonian armies ruthlessly took out the Assyrians.
Against that historical background you can see why those who listened to Jeremiah telling them in advance that the Babylonians would be victorious were unsure which side to back. Even after Nebuchadnezzar taught those in Judah a lesson and carried away their king (Josiah’s grandson, Jeconiah), they still seemed to hold out hope that Egypt would be the one to help them. Yet God made it very clear that Nebuchadnezzar was being used to punish other wrong-doers – and those in Judah, who had turned from God to become idol worshippers, would not escape. The alternatives were to capitulate straightaway and change their ways, or to suffer Babylonian domination of a worse sort. They chose wrongly and suffered. Only after 70 years was Jeremiah’s accurate prophecy fulfilled when King Cyrus (king of the empire that conquered the Babylonians) told the Jews to return. Not many did. It is instructive to compare the books of Nehemiah (who did return) with Esther (who did not).
Now we have seen China and Russia opposing threatened action by the USA to bring North Korea to heel. Then we saw attacks on Syrian alleged chemical weapons facilities, despite support for that regime from Russia and Iran. All hope there will not be escalating war. Will the USA threaten to allow nuclear arsenals in Japan and South Korea instead, upping the ante? Will there be a saw-off in which China is allowed more control of the Korean peninsula in exchange for peace? How will Iran’s rising influence be checked?
When Christ described world conditions that will prevail before His return to earth, He already knew such things. His warnings will make absolutely sound reading in the context of those times. And before His feet are on earth again, He will come to the air and take disciples away from the conflicts on earth. That more immediate prospect is the context Christians should be focused on right now.
So context matters. Happy reading!