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Lesson 15: Who Receives the Lord’s Favor?

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Our modern American culture encourages us to think about ourselves as supremely valuable individuals entitled to certain rights and privileges. We should have a generous amount of esteem in the eyes of others, a certain and ever-increasing amount of money from our workplaces (or elsewhere), and a God who exists to make us happy. It turns out, however, that Jesus faced a similar attitude during His ministry among us millennia ago. Having been given the opportunity to open up the Scripture before those gathered at the synagogue, he went on to apply the text to Himself as the Messiah it spoke of. The people of His day then responded in the same way as so many do today; they could not see themselves as needy people whose only hope would be in a Savior instead of somehow in themselves. We learn from this message that 1) God richly bestows His favor upon the needy, and 2) that we are the needy, not the deserving.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Character of God, Grace, Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 16: The Authority of the Christ (Luke 4:31-44)

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We have decisions to make and opinions to form every day. The big question then becomes: What is our source of authority? Information on just about anything is more easily accessible today than it has ever been, bringing about the necessity for a standard to judge the validity of all the available data. In this message, Pastor Daniel helps us to see how Jesus’s authority over your life is all encompassing, and it makes no allowances for competing authorities. We see this from the text at hand in the following ways: 1) Christ’s authority is revealed in His word. 2) Christ’s authority is resisted by the demonic realm. 3) Christ’s authority is realized in the physical realm. 4) Christ’s authority is recognized by all. For those who might question the importance of this area of authority, it is necessary they also consider that someday each individual will stand before the authoritative Christ this text points us toward.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Discipleship, Spiritual Life

Lesson 17: Letting Down Your Nets (Luke 5:1-11)

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How important is it that God know us, knows our circumstances, and is aware of the innumerable details of every life that has ever (or will ever live) on earth? Our obedience to Him actually counts on these realities. He asks of us things that seem counter-intuitive, unnecessary, or downright difficult…things that require us to believe God apart from what we can see. This is the kind of faith that Jesus required of Peter when He called him as a disciple. From the text at hand, we receive the message that God alone knows us, and the paths before us, perfectly; we should therefore follow Christ. We are challenged then to seek God so as to know His revealed will in an intellectual sense. It is furthermore important that we trust Christ’s directions, for, based upon what God knows, Christ directs. Finally, given what we come to understand about God and His omniscience, we can “let down our nets,” making the decision to obey Him at every turn.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Faith

Lesson 18: Grace to the Outcast (Luke 5:12-16)

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In the gospel of Luke, we see Jesus repeatedly showing kindness to those in need, an example of such is found here in the grace He gives to a man “full of leprosy.” As this individual saw his need and came to the Savior, it causes us to think about how it is we should approach Jesus as well. Should we avoid Him altogether because of our sinfulness? Should we presume upon His grace? Or perhaps we should recognize that Christ is gracious and hears the cry of the humble outcast. With the latter being the Biblical option, Pastor Daniel challenges us in the following ways: 1) Realize your condition. 2) Recognize your need for Jesus. 3) Request Christ’s mercy. And finally, 4) Receive Christ’s gift. These are the truths that the leper, a man who was considered all but dead in his culture, came to realize as he sought mercy from his only Hope in the world.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Failure, Grace, Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 19: The Authority to Forgive Sins (Luke 5:17-26)

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There is a focus in Luke 5 on the authority of Jesus, authority that is joyously accepted by some and disdained by others. Those two worlds collide in this section. We observe some faithful friends literally tearing the roof off of a house to get their paralyzed companion close to Jesus because they believed that Christ had the power to help him. As Jesus tangibly confirmed this belief, the stage was set for the religious authorities to reveal their disbelief in Jesus authority, especially His authority to forgive sins. The key point then of this message from Pastor Daniel is that, “as God, Jesus Christ has the total, complete, full authority and ability to totally, completely, fully, entirely, wholly, forgive the sins of those who place their faith in Him.” It follows, therefore, that we should, 1) Beware of challenging Christ’s authority in our hearts and, 2) Produce fruit that demonstrates our faith.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Christology, Faith, Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 20: Healing the Spiritually Sick (Luke 5:27-32)

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Would you rather be sick or righteous? The answer to this seems like an obvious one; it likely did to the Pharisees also, only Jesus did not like their answer. However, meet Levi, a “sick” tax collector called of Jesus to apostolic ministry, a once-lost man who was chosen to call others to repentance. And that is the central focus of the message at hand: sinners who need to repent are introduced to Christ by sinners who have been redeemed. As we watch Levi walk through the phases of reprobate, repentant, rejoicing, and finally reaching out to others, we too are challenged to consider what it means to have been changed by Jesus. In light of the fact that the sick need spiritual healing, we ought to ask ourselves the question, “What if Levi’s friends were depending on me to proclaim the gospel to them?” In looking at our own hearts, we would be well advised to 1) Repent of our self-righteousness, 2) Love Jesus, 3) Engage the spiritually sick, and 4) Call sinners to repentance. This was Levi’s journey, and it is ours to embark on as well.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 22: The Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-11)

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If there was one thing that even the casual observer could say about Jesus, it is that He was incredibly good at disrupting the minds and methods of the Pharisees and scribes. It seemed that every question they had (ones they already had an expected answer for) and every trap they placed ended up being turned upside down. The humbling part about this is that while we may stand on the sidelines and shout, “Yea, Jesus!” there’s a lesson we need to understand just as much as the opponents of Jesus’s day. What we learn from this text as we are walked through it is that “[Joyfully] submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord is the essence of obedience.” There are then a number of principles to consider in that regard. 1) Submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord means freedom, not oppression. 2) Submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord produces worship, not work. 3) Submitting to Jesus Christ brings life, not death. This life often is about the benefits brought to those around us as we seek the Lord, and so Pastor Daniel finishes by asking, “How is your life benefiting those around you?”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Discipleship, Spiritual Life

Lesson 23: Choosing the Twelve, Part 1 (Luke 6:12-16)

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In this two-part series, we are introduced to twelve famous (and to a small degree, infamous) followers of Jesus: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the zealot, Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot. Though all very different men from scattered backgrounds, Jesus nonetheless gathered them as one to His side. Through this, Pastor Daniel reminds us that “the effectiveness of our ministry is not dependent upon the one who was called but rather the One who called. It is Jesus who calls and through the Holy Spirit equips us.” As we examine the lives of these men, observing how Jesus interacted with them, considering the ways in which they grew into the men we observe at Pentecost and thereafter, we draw out life principles for ourselves. Their lives serve as great reminders of our need for the one true Savior who calls us out from places of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Discipleship, Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit)

Lesson 24: Choosing the Twelve, Part 2 (Luke 6:12-16)

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Choosing the Twelve continued...In this two-part series, we are introduced to twelve famous (and to a small degree, infamous) followers of Jesus: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the zealot, Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot. Though all very different men from scattered backgrounds, Jesus nonetheless gathered them as one to His side. Through this, Pastor Daniel reminds us that “the effectiveness of our ministry is not dependent upon the one who was called but rather the One who called. It is Jesus who calls and through the Holy Spirit equips us.” As we examine the lives of these men, observing how Jesus interacted with them, considering the ways in which they grew into the men we observe at Pentecost and thereafter, we draw out life principles for ourselves. Their lives serve as great reminders of our need for the one true Savior who calls us out from places of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Discipleship, Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit)

Lesson 25: Happiness in the Kingdom, Part 1 (Luke 6:17-26)

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Everyone wants to be happy, but many of our common pursuits do not yield the happiness we are seeking. Jesus, however, knows what is best for us, offering to us that which is most satisfying. In part 1 of this two-part message, we are presented with the main idea of, “happy are you who find your satisfaction in Christ and His kingdom.” As we read that we are blessed when poor and hungry, while woes are upon us if we are rich and filled, these ideas seem altogether counter-intuitive. But Christ gives us the reasons why they are yet true: He alone satisfies. From such, we learn 1) You are fortunate if you are seeking your security in Christ’s kingdom, and 2) You are fortunate if the only food that will satisfy you is the Bread of Life. Jesus has more for us than the ideas of a nice or successful life. In light of His majesty, we are able to see that we regularly delight ourselves in worthless things and simply need to turn our faces toward Him.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Kingdom, Spiritual Life

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