Worship Elements: Communion: Sacrifices (Leviticus 7)

Moses lays out the expectations for the sacrificial system with Israel. Moses communicates essential points of this sacrificial system from Leviticus 7.  This chapter teaches us that there are feasts anyone can eat, other feasts only the priests, and then there are offerings that are not eaten at all by the priests.  Why does the Lord have some meals with his people?  Why does the Lord have some meals with the priests?  What does any of this have to do with the Lord’s Supper?

Sojourning Under the Sun: Sabbath Reminder (Genesis 8:20-9:28)

The Lord enters his rest at the end of the creation.  The Lord has finished his work and is now in the rest where man is to join the Lord enjoying the eternal bliss of heaven.  However, man has fallen, martyrdom has already happened, and the Lord has dealt with the offender.  Now what is going to happen?  How is this creation going to respond to Lord warning Cain?  Will the Lord have to intervene once again?

Lead in Christ (John 15; LD 52

The Lord’s prayer has a strange request that we ask the Lord not to lead us into temptation.  If the Lord desires us to dwell with Him forever in heaven, then why would the Lord tempt us?  What does this request mean for our Christian life?  Can we trust our Lord if He is tempting us?  So, what does this request mean?

God's Prodigal Family: Father (Luke 15:11-32 (LD 51)

It is easy to judge the younger brother and to let him live with the consequences of his actions.  It might be touching to think that the father still hosts the banquet for the younger brother.  You can almost have a sentimental feeling that the father is a really good father.  The parable hits home when the father explains to the older brother why this banquet is so significant.  It also hits home when the father has to pursue the lost son.  Which son is really the lost son in this parable?  What is the significance of the father going out to meet with each of the sons?

God's Prodigal Family: Old Brother (Luke 15:11-32 (LD 51)

When we ask our heavenly father to forgive us our debts we are also asking that we forgive our debtors meaning those who sin against us.  The reality is that there is a cost involved with forgiveness and we might not always be willing to bear the cost of it.  What is more, the bigger problem is that we might not think that we ourselves need that much forgiveness.  So, what does the older brother or the older son tell us about forgiveness in the kingdom?  Why does Christ tell us that this man had two sons?

God's Prodigal Family: Younger Brother (Luke 15:11-32 (LD 51)

When Christ walked this earth there were two kinds of people with whom he interacted.  There were the sinners who knew that they were sinners.  These are the people who liked Christ’s message because it was clear their sins would be taken away in Him.  Christ also dealt with the pharisees.  These were the people who were righteous and in a position to judge Christ’s work.  When Christ speaks of the prodigal son who recklessly spent his father’s inheritance, how does this son show the folly of sin and the folly of righteousness?

Reprioritizing Our Position (LD 50; Matthew 6:25-34)

Asking the Lord to give us our daily bread could be another way of asking the Lord to make me more successful.  In other words it is the desire that we want to be successful.  The problem that we have as humans is looking beyond this world and believing that our Heavenly Father is more than looking down upon us, but is actually caring for us.  So, when we ask the Lord for our daily bread what are we exactly asking the Lord to provide?

Comforted by our Almighty Father (1 Kings 8:22-53 (LD 46)

Christ commands us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.”  This is not something that initially seems comforting to us earth dwelling Christians.  If God is in heaven while we are here on earth how can His heavenly dwelling be a benefit to us?  However, Christ is teaching us to pray this prayer so this is something good.  So, what we are we missing?  What is the bigger picture that we so often fail to see as struggling humans?  How is our praying to our Father in Heaven far more comforting than we could imagine?

The Absurdity of Prayer (Psalm 50 (LD 45)

Our catechism moves from the law of God that we obey out of gratitude to teaching us about prayer.  It does seem a bit strange that as Calvinists we would pray and that our confessional documents would have strong language regarding the necessity of prayer.  Why pray if everything is determined?  What can prayer do for us in our Christian life?  Do we pray to change the will of God or do we pray for another reason?

The Absurdity of Struggle (Matthew 26:36-46 (LD 44; COD Head 5 Art. 4)

The Christian life is something that ebbs and flows with ups and downs.  There are times when we face tests and struggle to persevere through those tests.  There are also times when we face temptations in the weakness of our flesh making it challenging to persevere through this life.  How do we keep a proper perspective on heaven?  How do we keep our focus on the goal of heaven and glory?  Where do we find our strength and power?  What can we learn from Christ interacting with his disciples?