I am out of town this week for a wedding in Oklahoma. Our Brother, Nick, is continuing our series this Sunday and has graciously written a blog to prepare you for receiving a word from God this Sunday. I pray that your time in study and meditation will prepare you to be challenged and transformed further into the image of Christ. I'll see you next week!
There is a watershed movement among the friends and acquaintances of my generation. They are beginning to sell their houses and move across country (and in some cases across the world) so they can live closer to their children. In many cases the motivating factor is their love for their children and grandchildren and their desire to physically “be with them”. There is also the desire to help shape and impact the lives of their children & grandchildren. In other instances, their motivation is a hope for restoration—to mend broken relationships, seek healing, make peace, and reconcile with family members.
· What does John 1:1-14 say about why Jesus, God incarnate, moved across the universe from heaven to earth to live with his creation?
· What can we help impact and shape the lives of each other and those outside our church for Christ?
There was a friend of my father who would always drop by the house unannounced. When we opened the door to see who rang the doorbell, we would say something like, “Oh, it’s Mr. Summers.” or “Oh. Hi Mr. Summers.” Mr. Summers would always emphatically replied, “Yep! It’s me. In the flesh!”
Christmas is the day (and season) that celebrates the incarnation of Jesus. Or to put it another way, we celebrate Jesus being “God Incarnate”. The word “Incarnate” comes from Latin and means just what Mr. Summers always said, “Yes, it me, in the flesh!” I’m not saying Mr. Summers was God. However, they were both very much “In the Flesh”.
John 1:14 says that the Word (reason, rationale, order) came in the flesh and made his dwelling among us.
· What does it say about our God that he wants to become one of us and live with us?
God’s plan to live with his creation is not a new thing. In fact, the following scriptures show that throughout time, God has been relentless about dwelling with us.
· From the beginning God was physically present with Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen 1-3).
· God’s presence was with the Israelites as they left Egypt (Ex 13:20-22)
· God dwelled with the wandering Israelites during their 40 years in the desert (Nu 9:15-23)
· God dwelled with the nation of Israel in the Temple built by Solomon (1Ki 8:10-11)
· Jesus was “God incarnate”. He took on flesh and lived as an Israelite. (Jn1:1-14; 1Jn 1:1-4)
· As believers and Christ-followers, the presence of God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us and outwardly reflects “God in us” to other people (1Cor 3:16)
· Jesus plans to come again and dwell with his followers for eternity. (Rev 21:3)
A common secular belief about God today is that He is some physically remote being, removed from and unconcerned with our everyday lives.
· In light of the above scriptures, how would you respond to that claim?
John 1:14 & 17 tells us that through the incarnation, Jesus brought “grace and truth” to mankind. These two small words make a statement that the Incarnation was indeed true and that Jesus brought both mercy and truth to the world.
· Describe in your own words the grace and truth that comes through Jesus?
· What does grace & truth look like when it effectively operates within the QC church body?
· What does grace & truth look like when it effectively operates within the NoDa community?
2Cor 3:17 says that Christians are being transformed increasingly into the likeness of Christ and thus reflect God’s glory–just as God’s glory was with the Israelites in the desert, and present in the Jerusalem Temple.
· What are some of the ways God has transformed your life to better reflect Christ to others?
· What part of your life today would you like transformed to better reflect glorify God?
1Cor 3:16 says that followers of Christ are now “God’s Temple”. In other words, Christians are God’s presence, that is “God in the flesh”, to others in the world. Similarly, 2 Cor 5:20 says that Christ-followers are “Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us.”
· What does it mean to you to be God’s physical representatives to each other in the QC church community?
· What does it mean to you to be God’s physical representatives to the NoDa community?
Read 2 Cor 5:14-21 & Eph 2:10.
· What do these scriptures say about how God wants us to reflect his presence to others?
I look forward to our time together this Sunday. Please continue to pray about how you personally and we collectively can be the presence of God to one another and to the NoDa community.