February 2, 2018 | Mark & Scott McAndrew
Romans 11-12 | Sunday: In Romans 11, Paul seems to predict a massive revival amongst ethnic Jews around the time of Christ’s second coming.
Romans 12 is the turning point in the letter. Chapters 1-11 have been packed with the good news of what Jesus has done for us. Chapters 12-16 are packed with how we should respond to this good news; namely, with wholehearted obedience.
Genesis 20-23 | Monday:
Genesis 20 tells the story of Abraham lying to a King Abimelech about Sarah, his wife. Why is this in the Bible? Well, remember, the promise that holds Genesis (and all of Scripture) together is the promise that God will bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham’s offspring. The drama focuses on the fact that, up til now, Abraham and Sarah can’t have offspring. If Sarah becomes Abimelech’s wife and they sleep together, then Abraham will never be able to get her back as his wife and see the fulfillment of this massive promise that they will have a son.
If Abraham and Sarah fail to have a son, then God will prove to be a liar, and the genealogical line from Abraham and Sarah down to Jesus will never exist.
A lot is at stake here. So what happens? God saves the day (through giving Abimelech a threatening dream) despite Abraham’s unbelieving, cowardly lie. God is the hero.
Genesis 22 is one of the most powerful pictures of the gospel in the Bible. Compare Genesis 22:12 with John 3:16 and Romans 8:32 (see here).
Genesis 23 is about Sarah’s death and burial. Why is so much time spent on Abraham buying a burial plot for Sarah? God promised to give Abraham’s offspring this land. However, this burial plot is the only part of the Promised Land that Abraham will ever own in his life. He must walk by faith, not by sight. This burial plot is like a downpayment on his final inheritance.
What does this have to do with us?
God made good on His promise to Abraham that his offspring would possess the land more than 400 years later. The downpayment of the burial plot guaranteed the inheritance.
The Holy Spirit, who dwells inside of us, is our downpayment on our full inheritance. This includes being in the immediate presence of God on the new Earth in resurrection bodies (see Ephesians 1:7-14).
For an NAC sermon on Genesis 20 and the sovereignty of God, listen here.
Judges 1-6 | Tuesday: The Kingdom of God is God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and experiencing God’s blessing.
We have seen God create His people by making Sarah’s barren womb conceive Isaac, and making his great grandchildren fruitful in the land of Egypt for 400 years. Now they are a nation made up of millions of people. On Sinai, they were given God’s rule (the law of Moses). After 40 years in the wilderness, they have taken the promised land under Joshua’s leadership.
Things are looking very good. God’s people are now in God’s place under God’s rule and look like they are on the verge of experiencing God’s abundant blessing . . .
That is where Judges begins.
However, in the first chapter we see half-hearted obedience and partial disobedience. We see a lack of trust in God as the people lean on their own common sense.
Chapter two is when the cycles begin. See the video below for the repeating cycle that dominates the book of Judges:
For an extremely helpful overview of Judges, it is hard to beat this from the Bible Project.
Psalm 15-17 | Wednesday: Psalm 15. Tim and Kathy Keller offer this wonderful prayer that goes with this Psalm: “Lord, the sins of my tongue are so many! Forgive me for talking too much (because of pride), for talking too little (because of fear), for not telling the truth (because of pride and fear), for words that are harsh and cutting, for hurting others’ reputations through gossip. Purify my words with your Word. Amen.”
Psalm 16:11 is a beautiful verse that says: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Colossians 3 tells us to set our affections on things above. Psalm 16:11 is a wonderful verse to help us do that.
Thomas Watson said: “Here joy enters into us, there we enter into joy; the joys we have here are from heaven; the joys that we shall have with Christ are without measure and without mixture.”
Thomas Brooks adds this: “The joy of the saints in heaven is never ebbing, but always flowing to all contentment. The joys of heaven never fade, never wither, never die, nor never are lessened nor interrupted. The joy of the saints in heaven is a constant joy, an everlasting joy, in the root and in the cause, and in the matter of it and in the objects of it.”
Psalm 17:8 says: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,” Tim Keller comenting on this verse says: “In Christ, astonishingly, God does indeed see us as perfect (Philippians 3:9-10)…Remind my heart that when you look on me you find me ‘in Christ’ and see beauty.”
Job 11-12 | Thursday: Something to remember as we go through Job is that Zophar, Eliphaz, and Bildad don’t have a category for innocent suffering in their theology. D.A. Carson says: “There is no category for innocent suffering. Job must be very wicked, for he is suffering much; the only reasonable option for him is to turn from the sin that must obviously be engulfing him.” Of course this causes the friends of Job to embark “on a course that condemns an innocent man.”
Isaiah 29-33 | Friday: During our sermon series in Micah we spent a lot of time talking about Assyria. They destroyed the Northern Kingdom (Israel) in 722 BC and they destroyed much of the Souther Kingdom (Judah) in 701 BC. Isaiah refers to this soon-to-happen event repeatedly in these chapters.
Also, we talked about how 185,000 men from the Assyrian army were whipped out by the angel of the Lord in a single night (see Isaiah 37:36-37). This event is also referred to several times in these chapters of Isaiah (for instance, see Isaiah 31:8-9).
Matthew 14-16 | Saturday: Matthew 1-3 introduce Jesus as the true and better Israel, Moses, and David. Matthew 4-7 shows Jesus announcing and teaching on the Kingdom of God. Matthew 8-10 shows Jesus bringing a foretaste of the Kingdom into daily life. Matthew 11-12 shows a mixed response to Jesus, which is mostly negative. Matthew 13 is filled with Jesus’ parables. Jesus tells parables that speak of a mixed response to His Kingdom message as well as a redefinition of the Kingdom.
In Matthew 14 after the death of John the baptist we see the never failing compassion of Jesus on display once again. Verse 13 tells us that Jesus withdrew in a boat to a desolate place by himself. However, the crowd follows after Jesus and as soon as Jesus goes ashore he is swarmed by the crowds. Verse 14 tells us: “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” David Platt tells us that: “Jesus was (once again) moved with compassion for them, even for those who were superfically attached to Him…Even in the face of such shallowness, Jesus was compassionate.”
In Matthew 15 Jesus tells us: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me.” As we prepare our own hearts to worship every week or just as we prepare our hearts to go to work in the morning this is a great verse to keep in mind. We need to remember as David Platt says: “that worship is all about spiritual affection. It’s about our hearts lifted high to God.”
What are some practical ways that we can work on our hearts in this area?
I think John Piper helpfully answers when he says: “And the answer would seem to be that we get up in the morning and we get our hearts fixed on Christ. We go to him and renew our satisfaction in him through his word. And then we enter the day seeking to express and increase that satisfaction in all that God is for us in Jesus.”
Matthew 16 contains a central moment in this gospel. Peter finally declares Jesus to be the Christ (Christ = Messiah; it means “Anointed One” – the Davidic King). Jesus agrees and then redefines the Christ as a suffering King rather than an outwardly triumphant king. Peter thinks this is nonsense and rebukes Jesus. Thus we see one of the major themes of Matthew. Who is Jesus? Chapters 1-16 show us He is the Christ/King of God’s Kingdom. Chapters 16-28 will show us Jesus redefining the idea of Christ and Kingdom. This King is a suffering servant who will die for the sins of His people.
At the end of Matthew 16 Jesus famously says: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” D.A. Carson helpfully reminds us that: “Death to self is not so much a prerequisite of dicipleship to Jesus as a continuing characteristic of it.”
There is a great Bible Project video on this part of Matthew here.