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Lesson 47: Confessing the Crucified Christ (Luke 9:18-22)

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A shining moment by Peter was followed by difficult words from Jesus. The great truth that Jesus was the Messiah contained also the startling news that the same would suffer, die, and be raised. This was who Jesus was and this was what Jesus came to do. Pastor Daniel points out through this text the necessity of our coming to accept the fullness of who Jesus is and not who we are comfortable with Him being. First, it is not enough for us to confess that Jesus is a great teacher or prophet. Second, it is not enough for us to confess that Jesus is the Christ. And finally, we must confess the suffering, rejected, dying, and resurrected Christ. Daniel wraps up this message through delivering the encouragement for each and every person, on an individual basis, to recognize his/her need for a Savior. It simply is not enough to come close to the truth while never submitting fully to it.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Christology, Discipleship, Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 48: Death and Discipleship (Luke 9:23-27)

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Jesus was a master at grabbing his disciples’ attention through counter-intuitive statements and plays on words. Consider the passage at hand, “whoever would save his life will lose it…” In reality, some of the most challenging directives that He ever gave rose out of statements like this one. Being a disciple then and being one now meant and means that we are willing to have our minds bent and challenged in ways we would not have sought out on our own. Daniel shares in this message what Scripture brings out as the true meaning of discipleship, stating, “Becoming Christ’s disciple does not mean making some modifications to your current life but rather means your immediate and violent death.” In fleshing this out, he makes the following points: 1) Discipleship begins when your life ends. 2) You and your life cannot both be saved.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Discipleship, Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 49: Christ’s Glory Revealed (Luke 9:28-36)

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Spending time with Jesus was certainly not a run-of-the-mill experience for the disciples, but the day of the transfiguration had to be one of those moments that made the top-five list in the minds of Peter, James, and John. And while seeing Jesus, Moses, and Elijah speaking together would likely elicit a period of silence from any beholder, Simon, true to form, spoke his mind; after such, God, true to form, realigned the focus of everyone there. Pastor Daniel helps us to see from this passage how it is that we are to come to see Christ, fully God and fully man, who calls us to follow Him. God had made clear to the disciples that, while Peter (and probably any of them) would not have fitting words in the face of the glories of Christ, this Son, this Chosen One, deserved their full attention and devotion. Such is the call on anyone who would be a disciple.

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Christology, Discipleship

Lesson 50: The Glory Below (Luke 9:37-45)

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Jesus’s ministry was full of both beauty and mystery. The fact that He was Lord over all creation and could see into each and every soul, correctly assessing the motives of anyone He interacted with, and direct people in a certain way even though their understanding of His words were sometimes destined to be lost on them, lends to the mystery that sometimes surrounded His work. He is seen in this account healing a man while calling the people present part of a twisted generation and then calling for the attention of disciples that had His words concealed from them. What must be understood is that Jesus had an understanding of reality that nobody else had, and though he had shared the transfiguration experience with Peter, James, and John just a short time before, they and others were still struggling to really grasp this “new” reality and what it meant for ministry to the suffering while not on their “mountain-top” experience. Pastor Daniel emphasizes that the key point of this text is that “God’s majesty is not only revealed on the mountaintop; God’s glory is also revealed in the transformed lives of people who have been shattered and then restored.”

Summary by Seth Kempf, Bethany Community Church Staff

Related Topics: Character of God, Christology, Glory

2. God Conquers Infidelity (Judges 3:1-22, Othniel)

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Judges: A Drifting People, A Delivering God (part two)

Faithfulness. Loyalty. Fidelity. Nothing breaks God's heart more-or kindles His anger faster-than when His people choose to follow other gods instead of Him. How frustrating it must be for the Creator to watch His allegedly intelligent image-bearers place their confidence in man-made idols. This is not an exclusive practice of the ancients, however, but continues to characterize God's people today. Our generation has witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of competition with God. Nevertheless, our jealous God will employ any resource at His disposal to encourage the repentance of His adulterous people. Have you remained faithful to God? What will it take to get your attention?

Related Topics: Character of God, Christian Life, Discipleship, Failure, Faith, Spiritual Life

Overcoming Temptation with the Word (1 John 2:12-14)

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This message on 1 John 2:12-14 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (December 27, 2009). This New Years message focuses on the challenge we will all face of temptation to do what we know is wrong. As ones who want to honor the Lord, how will we face and overcome temptation?

Related Topics: Christian Life, New Year's, Spiritual Life, Temptation

Good News! A Savior is Born (Luke 2:10-11)

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This message on Luke 2:10-11 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (December 22, 2009). This Christmas message focuses on the central message of Christmas: a message of good news for all people's. A savior is come. But what is a savior? Why do we need a savior?

Related Topics: Christmas, Soteriology (Salvation)

The Quest for Holiness

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These audio messages were originally prepared for the annual Iron Sharpens Iron conference at Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa (2010). The theme for that conference was The Quest for Holiness. These messages were part of the main plenary sessions.

Mark's messages for that conference were so well received that he was asked to re-preach them in his local congregation, Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel.

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Character of God, Christology, Spiritual Life, Worship (Personal)

Love God not Money (Hebrews 13:5-6)

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This message on Hebrews 13:5-6 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (December 28, 2008). This New Years message focuses on taking time for spiritual reflection. Are we in a better place spiritually than we were at last year? Do we love Jesus Christ more than we did last year? Is He more precious to us than other things that are competing for our affections?

Related Topics: Christian Life, Finance, Love, New Year's, Spiritual Life, Worship (Personal)

1. Holiness and the Problem of Idolatry (Romans 1:16-32)

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This message on The Quest for Holiness was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (August 22, 2010). This message focuses on mankind's problem with being holy: Idolatry. As we pursue holiness we must recognize the main impediment to that quest. We must accurately understand the reality and depth of our condition. As we see our true need we can come to the place of recognizing the only path to holiness. This message delves into the question, what is the reality of our situation in this present world?

Related Topics: Glory, Grace, Hamartiology (Sin), Man (Anthropology), Soteriology (Salvation), Spiritual Life, Worship