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?

Jesus' Public Ministry (Matthew 4:12-25)

Jesus announces that the kingdom of heaven is present.  This is great to hear, but what do we do with John the Baptist being arrested?  What do we do with Christ retreating to Galilee?  The issue then: how can Christ say that the kingdom is present when the context of this chapter seems to contradict His message? 

Worship Elements: Pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

The apostle Paul exhorts fathers, wives, and bondservants to live out their lives before the Lord’s face.  The Lord does not only exhort adults to life a life pleasing to the Lord, but Paul also exhorts children.  Why would Paul exhort children to obey their parents for that pleases the Lord?  Could there be implications in this exhortation for baptism?  

Jesus’ Tempations (Matthew 4:1-11)

We believe that Jesus is Immanuel or God with us.  He is enters history to save his people from their sins.  So, if Christ’s mission is to save his people from their sins then why is he wasting his time in the wilderness?  Why would Christ spend this time being tempted rather than just go to the cross? How can these temptations be so essential for Christ’s mission?  How can these temptations be essential for Christ’s mission to save his people from their sins? 

John’s Baptismal Concession (Matthew 3:13-17)

Ministers do not like to be wrong, and we really do not like the find out that we missed the point of a text.  We could say this is pride, but the honest truth is we want to handle God’s word competently.   I wonder how John the Baptist felt when Christ came to him for baptism.  It must have been strange to see the one who delivers his people from their sins to be identified with sinners.  Why does Jesus need to be baptized? Does this contradict John’s message regarding the fire baptism that is coming? 

Worship Elements: You and Your Children (Acts 2:39)

Peter takes his stand in the midst of the skeptics in Jerusalem.  Peter makes the point that the Lord was sent to the cross by these wicked men who listen to Peter’s sermon.   What does baptism have to do with Christ’s mission and the reception of the Holy Spirit?  Does Baptism have any correlation to the Old Testament?  Why does Peter say that the promise is for you and your children?

Worship Elements: Baptized in Christ (Romans 6)

The apostle Paul exhorts us to walk in the Spirit as people who have moved from death to life in Christ.  He also exhorts us to walk in light of our baptism moving us from death to life in Christ.  Is Paul teaching that as one receives baptism that one necessarily receives the Holy Spirit?  Why would Paul use such strong language regarding baptism? 

John's Fire Sermon (Matt. 3:1-12)

John calls the current leaders of Israel a brood of vipers.  This is not very flattering.  In fact, such speech would most likely put you at odds with the current leadership.  Why would John use such language?  What can we learn from such a harsh sermon? 

Circumcision and Baptism (Col. 2:11,12)

One can see the force of the argument that circumcision is a fleshly covenant which is tied to the flesh while Baptism is a sign that communicates spiritual renewal and spiritual washing.  It is conceivable to think that maybe Paul is making a historic progression meaning that we move from circumcision, fleshly covenant, to baptism, a true spiritual realization, after Christ’s coming. So, why would people baptize infants if the Lord has changed the significance of the covenantal sign?

Herod the Horrible (Matthew 2:13-22)

Herod, the king of the jews, is someone who should see that Christ’s entrance into history validates the jewish kingship.    However, Herod does not react in joy, but he acts in a horrific way to the news of Christ.  Herod demonstrates the horror of human depravity. How can the Lord triumph over this tyrannical man?  Is this man able to usurp the Lord’s power?