“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”
The importance of sharing the truth of God with the next generation was made clear to Israel. Were we inspired to write these words today, we would have no doubt written them in CAPITALS, underlined and bold. Look at the urgency in this verse – watch out!
As that need was urgent in Old Testament days, it is urgent now. Israel was (and is!) surrounded by hostile and ungodly nations, and hostile and ungodly influences were bombarding them from the world around them. Today the church is bombarded by the same influences – God is a God of love and justice: He knows very well the temptations that will come to water down His word to be ‘more palatable’ to those around who want to continue living rebellious lives, He knows of the lies the enemy will weave to lure future generations to step away from the truth of His word, a little here and a little there… He knows that without good examples, without lives lived showing His Grace and Mercy in action, without firm discipline and full love, children will be left to wander away from Him.
Today, let us give thanks to The Lord for our church family, and lift the children entrusted to us to Him in prayer, and let us, as a church family, recommit ourselves to Him, asking Him to help us to be sure to share His word, show His love, and teach of His righteousness and justice. We must too give thanks for our human families, pray for marriages and relationships within our church, and ask Him to enrich us by His Spirit as we seek to live obediently by His grace, showing Him in our lives to this generation and the next.
Children’s Prayer Activity
Thank God for the family you are part of and for your church family. Why not draw a
picture/take a photo of your family and use it as you pray to God today.
A study based on the Sermon : Top (Teamwork Obedience and Prayer) Christians
- Looking back at the whole book of Colossians, what are the key points?
- What can we learn about ministry from verses 7&8?
- What is Paul’s attitude to imprisonment? What might we learn from that?
- Mark’s clearly part of the team, but what can we learn about his ‘backstory’? [Acts 12.25; 13:13; 15:38-39]. How should we learn from what we see of Mark’s journey in faith and ministry?
- Verse 12 – prayer what does praying earnestly mean?
- Verse 14 – what do we know about both Demas and Luke [from further study in the NT]?
- Discuss how verse 17 might apply to us.
The sermon for Zephaniah 3 can be found here: What a way to end!
- Looking at verses 1-7 look at and list all the sins and consider how they were sins against God.
- Consider what relevance these verses have for us: a) as a church and b) as individuals.
- Verses 8-20 – looking at these verses, discuss which of these prophecies has been fulfilled by Christ and which are still to come.
- Verses 8-20 – how many times does God say ‘I will?’ talk through each of these and consider the relevance for us today.
- Please take some time to pray for us as a fellowship using Psalm 127 1 as a lead in to prayer.
A study on the sermon: Hunted down Chapter 2 of Zephaniah
- Discuss the first three verses of the chapter, specifically look at and talk through the following phrases – how might they apply to us today?:
- verse 1 “Gather together—yes, gather together…”
- verse 2 “the fierce fury of the Lord falls and the terrible day of the Lord’s anger”
- verse 3 “Seek the Lord”,
- Verse 3 all who are humble, and follow his commands.
- Verse 3 “Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you
- Take the rest of the chapter and look at the individual ‘judgement oracles’, consider:
- the different directions mentioned,
- the sins mentioned
- the warnings given
- which of the prophecies were fulfilled and which are yet to come
- does any of this passage equate with what’s going on in the Middle East today?
This study relates to the sermon: God’s Love Seen Through Judgement
- Zephaniah starts his prophecy telling us his family background (1:1); he is a fourth-generation descendant of King Hezekiah (King of Judah from 715-686BC). Does this pedigree matter to you? Why or why not?
- His opening words of prophecy tells of a terrible judgment to come: “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth” (1:2). It closes on the “day of the Lord” when God “will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth” (1:18). This just might be the harshest, most universal judgment announcement in the Bible. How does this make you feel? How does this make you feel about God?
- God is clearly a little upset with Judah. What has Judah done wrong? (see 1:4-6)
- Why is this book relevant to Christians today? On Sunday we talked through a lot of application for us today – what did that include?
This week’s study picks up on these two sermons:
Which Way? Jeremiah 6:16
Unless The Lord… Psalm 127
- Read Psalm 127 and Jeremiah :6:16 – 21
- Who are these verses aimed at, believers or non-believers? Why is it important that God’s people (The Church), put their own house in order [try to look at this from every possible angle]?
- If God is the builder and the watchmen why do we need to do anything?
- what is meant, in Jeremiah 6:16, by “the old godly way“, and how do we find it?
- For Christian’s the message in these few verses is ‘blindingly obvious’, so why do we often find ourselves doing the wrong thing and continuing to think we know best when it comes to certain, if not every, aspects of our lives?
- As a House group talk through how you might encourage, guide, and support each other in the year ahead as you seek to let the Lord build and watch and walk in the ‘old ways’ with Him
This term’s prayer pointers:
- Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
- Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
- Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.
So often in our Christian lives we spend inordinate amounts of time talking about prayer, wanting to seek the Lord and do His will; which I believe are great sentiments, but as we approach the end of the year I’m drawn back to some words we used at the start of our year in our covenant service, words which were borrowed from a great puritan called Richard Alleine:
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly give all things to you. Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. This my covenant with you my God, made here on earth, let it be confirmed in heaven. Amen
Why not take that prayer again, study it, meditate on it, discuss it and consider: as individuals, and as Christ’s Church, have we yet made this prayer our own? How can we encourage one another, and what is the Lord asking of us as individuals walking in covenant with Him? If studying in a group: spend a good time in prayer seeking the Lord for each other and the wider Church. When studying alone: also, of course, pray through the issues that arise in your heart.
Some study questions For James 4:1-10.
Here’s the sermon if you missed it… Rock Solid
- Take a few minutes as a group to remind each other about who James was, why he was writing etc.
- Verse 1: If we have any disagreements with people in our church family, how should we deal with them? – see also Matthew 18: 15-20.
- Why might we find prayer difficult?
- Why doesn’t God give some people what they ask for? (James 4:3, Isaiah 55:89, 2 Peter 3:8, Philippians 4:6-7, John 15:7).
- Verses 7-10. In the sermon we looked at three rock solid promises, what are they? Talk through each one as a group and look at how, if we take them to heart, they can empower us.
- How is the reverse logic in verses 9 and 10 true?
- What are the key applications in this passage that group members are going to take away and put into practice?
Some questions set by Gordon to accompany his sermon: Reaping a whirlwind!
- The people of Israel were compared to a half baked pancake, fit for nothing. 3 reasons are listed in vs 8-10. Failure to remain separated, failure to remain vigilant and failure to seek God. Discuss how this compares to us a individuals, as God’s people and as a nation;
- One of the saddest comments in this passage is that the people were unaware of their desperate state. Discuss how easy it can be for Satan to slowly undermine the foundations of the church, and so severely weaken it’s witness;
- Half-heartedness and compromise can have devastating effects. In chapter 8 vs 7-10, Hosea pictures this as “sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind”. Discuss what wrong seeds might be sown in our relationship with God, family, work colleagues or in our use of time and money?
- It would appear from Hosea, that although Israel talked of acknowledging God, they were not prepared to make the changes necessary to rebuild their relationship with Him. If you feel it is appropriate, discuss areas where God’s people today are reluctant to be obedient to his word as it might entail changes they are not prepared to make.