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    Week 1: Matthew 1-2

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    Chelsea
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    Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Chelsea on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:31 am

    Week 1 - June 8-11 - Matthew 1-2


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Chelsea on Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:18 am

    Matthew 1

    There is a lot to be said about the faith of Joseph at this point. But what I think is most interesting is the prophesy fulfilled. Matthew 1:22-23 says, "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means “God with us”)." This comes from Isaiah 7:14.

    So, I went back to Isaiah and read the prophesy. (See Isaiah 7) Ahaz, a man in Jesus' own line (See Matthew 1:9), was king of Judah at the time of this prophesy. He made some bad choices by joining up with Ephraim (Israel). God tells Him that was a bad idea, and ends His statement with "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." (Isaiah 7:9). God then asks Ahaz to request a sign from Him and to make it big - "whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights" (Isaiah 7:11). But Ahaz says he wouldn't, because He doesn't make requests of God. While this sounds all holy, God wasn't happy (Ahaz did disobey a direct order from God, after all). Since Ahaz didn't ask for a sign, God gave Him one of His own choosing. And that's where the prophesy comes in (See Isaiah 7:14).

    I know there are a lot of people who have difficulty believing the idea of the virgin birth. My late grandfather was one of them. He accepted that Jesus was God and all that jazz, but he wasn't convinced that he was born of a virgin. But the Truth is, if one of the prophesies about Jesus hadn't come true, the entire thing would be debunked. One of the major reasons no one should have fallen for Harold Camping's Judgment Day prediction is because a prophet can't be wrong - and Camping already had been wrong in the 90s. If Jesus wasn't born of a virgin, Isaiah wasn't a prophet. If Jesus wasn't born of a virgin, that just debunked an entire book of the Bible and all the New Testament books that reference it, because the God-breathed Word isn't wrong. Ever. Under any circumstances. That's what Truth is.

    That's a lot to process. Though I wonder what Joseph was thinking. Was he thinking, "Woah, this means my son is the Messiah!" or was it "Well, this angel probably isn't going to lie to me, so it must be true." Either way, it's a real statement of faith. Which makes me look back at the story of Ahaz. 2 Chronicles 28:22 says, "In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord." He began worshiping the gods of Damscus. He was so terrible, they didn't even bury him in the tomb of the kings when he died (2 Chronicles 28:27).

    Right before handing down this prophesy, God gives Ahaz a warning - a word of advice - if you recall: "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." (Isaiah 7:9). Ahaz didn't listen. Though I doubt these were the words running through Joseph's mind during this whole thing, he certainly carried it out. The idea of the virgin birth may be hard for us to believe now, but think about Joseph. How much harder would it have been to believe then? But he stood firm in faith. From the way Matthew puts it, it appears he didn't even hesitate. He believed in the message from God and he believed in the integrity of his bride-to-be. As a result, he was responsible for raising the man who would make the biggest impact on humanity that this world has ever seen.

    After Ahaz's introduction it reads, "Unlike David his father, he did not do what is right in the eyes of the Lord." (2 Chronicles 28:1) But Matthew calls Joseph a "righteous man." (Matthew 1:19)

    I guess, sometimes it's the little decisions, that don't seem to matter much, that really become the turning points of our future. When you reach those crossroads, to trust God or trust yourself, to heed His warning or do what is right in your own eyes, the decisions you make say a lot about the contents of your soul. Which makes me examine myself. When I'm going to make a tough decision (maybe not "who to ally with in war" or "do I divorce my spouse" but big enough for my season of life), do I seek God's counsel? If so, do I listen to that counsel or follow my own course? Can I think of times where I'm in these situations and I choose to do right by God, instead of by myself? Can I think of times I don't, and why I chose not to? How often do I trust God when something doesn't make sense to me or does God's words have to make sense before I follow? If it's the latter, where is the faith in that? Questions. Questions. Questions.


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Obijuan on Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:05 pm

    I have always thought of how interesting it would be to have angel come in your dream and tell you to do something. I can't imagine how real Joseph's dream must have felt that when he woke up the next morning he did as the angel told him to do. What if Joseph had just woke up and thought nothing of it but just another dream? I guess a lot comes in to what you were saying about faith Chelsea. Joseph believed in what he saw in his dream and did exactly what the angel told him to do.


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Obijuan on Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:11 pm

    In this I was referring to Joseph's first dream in which an angel came to him.


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Chelsea on Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:02 pm

    Obijuan wrote:I have always thought of how interesting it would be to have angel come in your dream and tell you to do something. I can't imagine how real Joseph's dream must have felt that when he woke up the next morning he did as the angel told him to do. What if Joseph had just woke up and thought nothing of it but just another dream? I guess a lot comes in to what you were saying about faith Chelsea. Joseph believed in what he saw in his dream and did exactly what the angel told him to do.

    I've always wondered about these dreams people have where an angel or God speaks to them. I know the culture back then placed a lot of weight on dreams - much more than the majority of us do today - but it still seems like such a...risky...means of communication. There are cases in the Bible where angels appear to fully awake people. That, to me, seems so much more reliable, but I guess there is a lesser degree of faith attached.

    I've had plenty of dreams that seem real, but I couldn't imagine making important life decisions based on them. These must have been really special dreams or really trusting men.


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Chelsea on Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:49 pm

    Matthew 2
    The Magi Visit the Messiah (Scholars from the East)

    Scripture: "When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him." (Matthew 2:3; NIV)
    "When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well." (Matthew 2:3; MSG)

    Observation: So it makes sense why Herod wouldn't like the coming of the Messiah. He was a foreigner - gaining his position through less than peaceful means. On top of that, it was said through prophesy that the Messiah would shake Israel free of a wicked ruler. Though the prophesy didn't mean an earthly leader, Herod (nor Israel) knew that.

    But why would the people of Jerusalem be equally disturbed. Herod was evil, and the Messiah's coming had been eagerly awaited for centuries. Looking into it, Jerusalem at the time consisted of many of Herod's biggest supporters, who would be equally concerned if there was a regime change. Others say that many would have been afraid of the conflict that would follow a regime change - regardless of if they supported Herod. Despite the promises of freedom and a return of justice, the people were afraid of what it would cost them up front.

    Application: Where in my life am I too afraid to let God do His work? At NexGen, we've been talking about getting desperate for God. Jason pointed out that when you're desperate, you have nothing to lose (at the same time you have everything to lose because you put all importance in one thing). When I get into the mindset of "things are good enough as it," I prevent God from working through my life. Philippians 2:13 (stealing this from Jason also) says that God works in you so that you will both do and want to do His will. If I block out God with things that make me comfortable, I won't want His will and will make myself much less useful to His purpose. So the big question is: where in my life have I become comfortable; instead of having to rely on God fully and completely?


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Obijuan on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:54 am

    In response to your application, I still take to heart Pastor Jurgen's sermon when he talked about how we are made to stand out and not fit in. I find that when I don't let God in, most of the time it is because I am trying to fit in with what or who is going on around me. This is something I have been trying to work on and I like to think of Joshua 1:9 when I feel like I am standing out. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with wherever you go. It just helps me to know that I shouldn't be afraid to let God in even if it means sticking out.

    As for Matthew 2, I still remember Jason's breakout out on the magi finding baby Jesus. I never thought of it until then but how amazing is it that God set into motion a planet that would shine at the exact place for the magi to see so that they may see and worship Jesus? Everything was so planned so that Jesus would survive. From picking people that would follow warnings in a dream to knowing the actions of Herod it all seems so perfect that Jesus survived. It just kinda blows my mind how planned out things were.


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Chelsea on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:09 am

    I think Pastor Tre's sermon tonight fit this discussion quite perfectly. I know he was talking about Matthew 6 (spoiler alert, gosh) but it goes along with my application, I think. Basically, what "priorities" do I have that prevent God from working in my life? It's definitely something I - for one - need to think about in my own life. I thought it was interesting how Tre talked about how God told him he wasn't going to be able to move forward until he addressed those issues. Really makes me feel a need to examine my own choices, and the things I hold on to.

    Yes, I was thinking of Jason's Breakout message too. It's so crazy; I love it.


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    Re: Week 1: Matthew 1-2

    Post  Chelsea on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:25 am

    Also, a different part of Matthew 2, where Herod kills the children. I find it interesting how God views children. Pastor Garlow pointed out that in Judeo-Christian tradition, children are always seen as a blessing from God. It is never a burden to have children - in God's eyes. This is different from most - if not all - cultures (for at least some point of their history).

    When Israel is freed from Egypt, God makes is very clear that He find the sacrifice of children to the pagan God's especially detestable. (Leviticus 18:21 and Leviticus 20:2, for example). In Jeremiah, He even says "They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin." (Jeremiah 32:35) In what I've read of the Old Testament (almost all of it), I've never seen God use the phrasing "nor did it enter my mind" - this is clearly some terrible stuff in the eyes of God.

    In all human history, the two largest scale cases of deliverance occurred after a mass murder of children - and interestingly enough, by men who would have been killed if not for God's rescuing them from that same fate. First, Moses. And now Jesus. I don't know what to make of it, but I find it quite interesting.


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