Bible Study: Dec. 24, 2017

by Staff/LifeWay Christian Resources, posted Thursday, December 21, 2017 (9 months ago)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Baptist Press will be closed Dec. 25-Jan. 1; please find both the Dec. 24 and 31 Bible studies below.

NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week's Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passage: Philippians 2:5-11

Discussion Questions:

-- Have you encountered someone giving up their rights and/or comforts for the sake of others? If so, how did it make you feel?

-- Why do you think this type of sacrifice is so rare?

-- How does Jesus' humility in taking on servanthood in His incarnation challenge you to be humble?

Food for Thought:

Read Philippians 2:5-11. This one great act of voluntary demotion taken on by Christ demonstrated the depths of both His love for His Father and His love for us. There are two facets of this great odyssey in which the Son of God moved from heaven and took up residence on earth: He let go and He took on.

To begin to understand all that He let go of, we first need to see and believe that Jesus indeed existed in the form of God before He came to earth. John 1:1-3 echoes this truth, for instance. Jesus -- the Word -- was in the beginning with God. He created all things, and without Him nothing exists.

Without ceasing to be God, Jesus, in a great act of grace-filled humility, set aside some of the privileges associated with His divinity in order to join the human race for the sake of humankind. For our sake, Jesus let go of more than we can ever imagine so that we could enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father (see 2 Corinthians 8:9). Christ temporarily gave up His exalted seat next to the Father so that we might enjoy God's exalted presence for eternity.

Not only did Christ let go, He also took on.

When Scripture says that Jesus "emptied himself," that does not mean He set aside His divine nature; rather, it is a way of describing how He took on a human nature in His incarnation (Philippians 2:7). In emptying Himself in this way, He now exists as the God-man, fully divine and fully human.

Throughout His human life, the Son of God followed the calling of a humble servant and lived a life of stripped-down humanity, and this began with Him being born as a defenseless, dependent infant. He continually chose the posture of a servant. He voluntarily washed feet. He faithfully endured insult and injury. Why? "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).

The Gospel Project

The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God's plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .

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Bible Study: Dec. 31, 2017

By Staff/LifeWay Christian Resources

NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week's Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passages: Psalm 46:10; 130:5-6; Ephesians 6:16

Discussion Questions:

-- Would God describe you as a good listener? Explain.

-- What can distract us from waiting on God to hear Him speak? How can we combat such distractions?

-- What would it take, in your life situation, to be still and know that the Lord is God?

Food for thought:

The story goes that some years back a gentleman lost an expensive and special watch, a gift from his deceased father, while crossing a country field. Panicked when he realized the watch was no longer in his pocket, he immediately began retracing his steps, trampling this way and that in his search for the missing timepiece. After some minutes of unsuccessfully hunting along the path, he took note of his location and began seeking something else -- someone to help him locate the watch.

Coming upon a sandlot baseball game, he enticed the boys to take a break and look for the missing gift. Even with the added eyes and feet, the mission proved fruitless. One of the boys declared he would find the watch if the man and the rest of the boys would return to the ballgame. Not long after the game resumed, the lad arrived and presented the pocket watch to the greatly-relieved gentleman.

In expressing his gratitude, the man inquired, "How ever did you find it?" The young fella explained that after everyone else left, he stood silently listening, moving a few feet along the path every minute of so, until he heard the watch ticking, and retrieved it.

We tend to think of prayer as the words we speak to God, but often fail to account for the words He wishes to speak to us. His words, like the ticking of the pocket watch, often get drowned out by the noise in our lives. After all, He speaks in "a soft whisper" (1 Kings 19:12).

John Bisagno, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Houston, in the focus of this week's session identifies several types of "noise" that can make it hard for us to hear that soft voice. Bisagno includes physical drowsiness, a rambling mind of psychological associations, an active subconscious, and of course the work of the devil. If we are to successfully listen to God in prayer, we must learn to silence the noise and "be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10, KJV).

MasterWork

MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.

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