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Homosexuality, the Bible, and Us - Resources

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On Sunday, March 26, 2017, we examined scripture together in our sermon: Homosexuality, the Bible and Us. To provide you with further resources in learning how to respond biblically, and engage our culture faithfully in regard to the issue of homosexuality, here are some helpful resources you may want to make use of: "50 Resources for Equipping the Church on Homosexualit...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matt. 27:57-66

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Prepare your heart for Sunday by looking through these suggestions that will assist you in making the most of our time together. You will find suggestions for thinking more critically through the passage, meditating more intently on the text, and tangibly putting scripture to action in your personal life, and in our corporate body. Carefully Think Read through Matthew...

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Preparing for Sunday - God's Glory

Carefully Think How do you use these posts to prepare your hearts each Sunday? How would you prepare for something on a topic, rather than specific, consecutive verses? What is God's glory? Why is it so important? How would you be able to find out? What does the word glory mean?  Look to define how we use it today?  How is it used in Scripture? Using a conc...

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Preparing for Sunday - Sanctity of Human Life

Carefully Think Read Psalm 139:13-16. From these verses, list why life, even life in the womb, is important. List, from the passage mentioned above, what God had done with the psalmist. When did God do these things? Read Genesis 1:26-28. Why is a human's life most important? Why is it different from the animal world, according to this passage (and the verses preceding...

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Preparing for Sunday - The Importance of Expository Preaching: An Annual Reminder

Carefully Think We hear a lot of preaching at our church. How would you describe the purpose of preaching? Where would you go in the Bible to describe to a person why preaching is so important. List as many reasons as you can as to why expository preaching is essential to a Christian's growth? To a congregation's health? Read 2 Timonty 4:1-5. Why is preaching the Bib...

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What We Teach: The Timing of the Table?

Recently, we were asked by someone attending our church as to our reasoning behind how often we participate in the Lord’s Table. That is a great question. For those of you who have enjoyed this time with us you know that the Lord’s Table is a highlight for us here at Summit Woods. A number of years ago, we celebrated the Table once each quarter (our bylaws cal...

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Preparing for Sunday - Expository Listening

Prayerfully Meditate What is your typical approach to preparing your heart to hear from God through his word on Sunday? How would the following passages assist you in preparing yourself to hear from God on Sunday: James 1:19-25; 1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. What role should confession of sin and prayer play in your preparation to listen? Make a list of what you...

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Jonathan Edwards on Psalms

This morning, in our final message on the book of Psalms, I mentioned a sermon by Jonathan Edwards that illustrated his ability to detail God's beauty and hell's terrors in unparalleled fashion.  HERE is the link to his sermon, entitled, "God's Excellencies." Set aside some time to sit down and thoughtfully read through it. Your heart should be encouraged as you medi...

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Preparing for Sunday - Psalms, Part 3

Carefully Think This week we will continue to look at how the book of Psalms affects our faith. We will look specifically at the imprecatory and messianic psalms.  Read through the following psalms: 7, 35, 58, 69, 85, 109, 137. What does the psalmist say about his enemies? Why does this not contradict the gospel of Jesus in the New Testament? Or does it? If you th...

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Desiring God - Chapter 2 - References and Recommended Reading Links

For those who are a part of our Wednesday evening discussion through John Piper's book, Desiring God, you may have noticed references to a few or recommended articles. On page 60, Piper quotes at length from Jonathan Edwards' sermon, "The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners." Click the link to read the whole sermon. On page 65, Piper recommends an article by ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Psalms, Part 2

Carefully Think Last week we considered the book of Psalms as a whole. This week we will focus on how the Psalms affects our faith in God. Look through several headings of several psalms in each of the five sections of the book. List some of the musical terms that you see referred to (i.e.., "to the choirmaster," "maskil," "mahalat," etc.). While it is difficult (if no...

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Preparing for Sunday - Psalms 1-150

Carefully Think This Sunday we pick up with our summer tour through the Old Testament. This summer we will be concentrating on the poetic books. This week we will look at Psalms. Psalms is divided into five sections. Glancing through the chapters, you can locate all five divisions. Book I: 1-41; Book II: 42-72; Book III: 73-89; Book IV: 90-106; Book V: 91-150. Read the...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 22:23-33

Carefully Think Read Matthew 22:23-33. How is this question similar and different in content and intention from the previous question asked of Jesus (22:15-22)? What are the Pharisees implying about Jesus by their question about resurrection and marriage? Read Deuteronomy 25:5-7 to see what Moses said about this issue in marriage. What does Jesus state is the error ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Selected Scriptures

Carefully Think What would you think are the biblical marks that define who is a part of the church of Jesus Christ? Where would you go in the Bible to answer the question above? How would you describe to a non-Christian what it means to be converted to Christ? How would someone know that they are "converted?" Read Acts 2:42-47. How did people identify themselves as ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 21:23-32

Carefully Think Read Matthew 21:23-32. How does this passage relate to the previous events in Matthew 21? In a word, what is the primary issue of conversation between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders? Why would the religious leaders ask Jesus this particular question (v 23)? Why would Jesus ask them to describe the source of John the Baptist's ministry before ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 21:18-22

Carefully Think Read Matthew 18:18-22. What kind of connections can you see between what takes place with the fig tree and what just happened in the temple (18:12-17)? What astonishes the disciples? Why would Jesus do this to a tree that did not produce fruit? What is Jesus indicating about the kind of authority he exercised over the tree and the kind of authority t...

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Preparing for Sunday - 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Carefully Think Read through 1 Corinthians 15:1-19. List what you learn about the work of the gospel from 15:1-2. List what you learn is essential to the gospel in 15:3-5. How important is the written word of God to the integrity of the gospel? Who did the risen Christ appear to? Why would they be important? According to 15:12, what were some in Corinth saying about...

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Preparing for Sunday - John 3:16-21

Carefully Think Read John 3:1-21. Read John 3:16-21 again. How does this section relate to Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus in 3:1-15? What does "the world" refer to in 3:16? How do you know? How is this word used in John's Gospel to give you some ideas of what it refers to? How has God shown love to the world? Why did it need to be in this way? What does it mean to ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 19:1-12

Carefully Think Read Matthew 19:1-12. What has changed about the location of Jesus' ministry (v 1)? Why is this important to note? What do the Pharisees ask Jesus? Are they seeking his opinion or challenging his source of authority? How do you know? What was the motivation behind the Pharisee's question to Jesus about divorce? Why would the Pharisees bring up this i...

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Preparing for Sunday - John 1:1-5, 9-14

Carefully Think Read John 1:1-5, 9-14. How does John describe Jesus? Who does John intend us to understand that Jesus is by this description? Why would John call Jesus "the Word"? What does that title suggest Jesus' relationship to God is? What was Jesus' role in creation? What does this suggest about Jesus' identity? What kind of life is being referred to (v 4)? If...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 18:21-35

Carefully Think Read Matthew 18:21-35. What is the main idea of this passage? Write it out in one sentence. In light of Matthew 18:15-20, what would motivate Peter to ask the question he does in 18:21? Why would Peter suggest "seven times" for forgiveness? What was Jesus' response? What did Jesus mean by his response? Read the parable in 18:23-35 again in light of Pe...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 17:24-27

Carefully Think Read Matthew 17:24-27. Summarize the main idea of this section in one sentence. Who approaches Peter? Why do they focus on Peter (especially in light of recent events with Peter - Matthew 16:13ff)? What kind of tax is being referred to? When does Jesus respond to Peter? In Jesus’ parable in verse 25, who do “the kings of the earth refer t...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 16:17-20

Carefully Think Read Matthew 16:13-20. Focus on 16:18-20. Why does Jesus name Simon as Peter? What is "the rock" upon which Jesus will build his church? How does Jesus describe the "church?" What do "the gates of hell" refer to? What do "gates" on a city do/what are they used for? What do "keys of the kingdom" refer to? What do these keys do; what are they used for...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 16:13-17

Carefully Think Read chapter 16 of Matthew and focus upon Matthew 16:13-17 (perhaps using various translations). Where are Jesus' and the disciples in Matthew 16:13? Locate it on a map at the back of your Bible. Where had Jesus been ministering previously? What is Jesus saying about himself in the question he asks the disciples? What do we learn about Peter and the d...

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Preparing for Sunday - 1 John 2:15-17

Carefully Think Read 1 John 2:15-17 What is "the world" in this context? From what you learn in this passage, what is the danger of loving the world? What is true about "the world" that would create such severe spiritual consequences? Why is it more valuable to have the love of God the Father than to love the world? Prayerfully Meditate How can you be a loving...

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Preparing for Sunday - Worship (Part 2)

Carefully Think 1 Corinthians 14. What is repeated in this chapter as the most important value to pursue as a gathered congregation? Read Acts 2:42-47. What did the early church focus on in their gatherings? Read Ephesians 5:19. What is the relationship of this verse's content to 5:18? What is the result of the filling of the Holy Spirit according to these two verses?...

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Preparing for Sunday - Worship

Carefully Think Make a list of all of the ways in the Old Testament you can think of that are public occasions and/or expressions of worship to God. What kind of words are used to describe acts of worship in the Old Testament? What sort of images were used in the Old Testament to describe acceptable acts of worship to God? Make a list of all of the ways in the New Test...

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Preparing for Sunday - Haggai

Carefully Think Read both chapters of Haggai 1-2 in one sitting.  Try to read through it several times. What is the time frame of this book? Read 1:1, 1:15, 2:1, 2:10, 2:18, 2:20 What is the main theme of this book?  Who are the recipients of the prophecy? How are the people's hearts towards God in chapter 1?  How do they respond to Haggai's message? ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Jonah

Carefully Think Read Jonah 1-4. List what you learn about Jonah. What is his fundamental problem with God? What does God do in this book. List what you see. What is God doing with Jonah? How do the pagan people typically respond to God in this book (1:7-16; 3:6-10)? How is this similar or different to Jonah's responses to God? Where do you find Jonah obeying God? Ho...

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New Elder Candidate - Todd Arnold

In 2007, Summit Woods Baptist Church adopted a new Constitution and By-Laws which implemented an elder-led form of church polity. In 2009, the first elders were chosen by the congregation and began serving. Building on this necessary and biblical approach to church polity is a constant prayerful mindset and quest for the existing elders. One of the most important prioritie...

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Preparing for Sunday - Obadiah

Carefully Think Read Obadiah 1:1-21 (the whole book). Who is this prophecy about? Who is it actually delivered to? Read Genesis 25; 27; 28:6-9; 32:3; 36:1 for some background on where Edom comes from. What did Edom think of themselves (1:2-9)? What did Edom do with Jerusalem/Judah (1:10-14)? What would God's response be to Edom (1:15-18)? What would God's response...

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Preparing for Sunday - Amos

Carefully Think Read Amos 1-9 in one setting. How would you sum up the themes you see in this book? Read Amos 1:1; 7:14, 15. What do you learn about who Amos was and when he prophesied? Read Amos 1-2 and list the various nations addressed. Who is speaking to these nations? What kinds of things are they being held accountable for? Who receives the most rebuke? Why? Re...

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Preparing for Sunday - Joel

Carefully Think Read through Joel 1-3 in one sitting. List a few of the major themes you see emphasized in the book. What sort of event is 1:4-7 describing? What response should God's people have to this event (1:13-14)? What is this event called (1:15)? What does this suggest as to why the event is happening? What sort of event is 2:1-11 describing? Is it the same e...

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Preparing for Sunday - Hosea

Carefully Think If you can make time, try to read through all of Hosea (14 chapters). Read Hosea 1:2-3. What did God ask Hosea to do? Why would he do that? Read 1:4-11 to read the names of the children and why they wee named as they were. What does it say about Israel's spiritual state and the physical illustration Hosea was to be to Israel. Read 3:1-5. What does God ...

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Preparing for Sunday - How the Gospel Helps Our Hearing

Carefully and Prayerfully Consider List the major points of the gospel of Jesus Christ? What is necessary to believe and what does a saving response to the gospel of Jesus look like? This Sunday we will consider how this message and a saving response to it should continually drive and impact how we listen to God's Word taught each week when we gather. How could the go...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 15:29-39

Carefully Think Read Matthew 15:29-39. How would you sum up this passage in one sentence? Compare this passage with Mark 7:31-8:10. What is similar/different? Read Mark 7:31. What information about Jesus' location does Mark add? Find that place on a map of Palestine in Jesus' time. What is significant about his location? What is the response of the crowds to Jesus' h...

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Preparing for Sunday - Proverbs 31:10-31

Carefully Think Read Proverbs 31:10-31. What is the purpose of this passage (v 10)? After reading through the passage, what is this woman's greatest focus? Why?  List as many areas of responsibility and actions this woman has and does. How would you assess this woman's joy? Is she satisfied, fulfilled, and enjoying her life? What motivates this woman to live i...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 15:21-28

Carefully Think Read Matthew 15:21-28. Find a map of Palestine (back of your Bible). Find the region of Tyre and Sidon and notice its location to Galilee. From where was the woman who came up to Jesus? Why is this significant? How did she address Jesus? How is that significant? What did she want from Jesus? How did Jesus respond to the woman's request? How did the di...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 15:1-20

Carefully Think Read Matthew 15:1-20. What were the Pharisees and Scribes concerned about? How did they view the authority of their traditions? How did they view the effect their traditions would have on a person? What did Jesus say about their concern? What problem did Jesus specifically identify as problematic with the Pharisees and Scribes? What connection does Je...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 14:22-36

Carefully Think Read Matthew 14:22-36 How does this relate to the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt 14:13-21)? What lessons should the disciples learned from that episode that would have helped them in 14:22-36? What was Jesus' purpose for sending the disciples and the crowds away? What was the reaction of the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on the water? How would y...

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Preparing for Sunday - Ephesians 4:11-16

Carefully Think Read Ephesians 4:11-16. How would you sum up this passage in one sentence? What is the purpose of "apostles, prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers"? Who gave them and to whom were they given? How would you define and describe "the work of ministry?" Who does this work and what does this work accomplish? What does spiritual maturity loo...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 14:13-21

Carefully Think Read Matthew 14:13-21. Sum up the main idea of this passage in one sentence. How does this passage relate to the events that precede it (14:1-12)? How does this help to understand one of the reasons Jesus goes to a desolate place? From what you read in this passage, what words would you use to describe the crowd's interest in Jesus?  What was Jes...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 14:1-12

Carefully Think Read Matthew 14:1-12. Summarize the main idea in one sentence. What about Jesus caused Herod to assume Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist? What was bothering Herod's conscience? Describe John the Baptist's relationship with Herod. What was Herod's sin? Why was John put in prison? What was the occasion of John's death? How would you describe He...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 13:53-58

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:53-58. Where does Jesus leave (13:36) and to what town does he go (13:54)? What does he do there? What was the response of those in attendance? Compare this to when Jesus finished the sermon on the mount (7:28, 29). What is similar? What is different? What does the audience find so odd about Jesus' teaching? Why would they think this w...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 13:44-52

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:44-52 List the parables described here. What are the similarities between each of the parables? What are the differences? What is the emphasis of the first two parables that do not have a stated explanation? What is the emphasis of the thrid parable that is explained? What are the new and old things that Jesus is referring to in the ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 13:31-35

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:31-35. How are the two parables in this section different and alike? How would these parables be similar to the parable of the weeds just before (13:24-30)? What is the comparison being made between the mustard seed and the kingdom of heaven? How would this be helpful and instructive to the crowds and the disciples in light of the oppo...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:24-30, 33-36. Make a list that compares the telling of the parable (13:24-33) and the explanation of the parable (13:36-43). List things like the setting of both sections, the characters involved and what they refer to, etc. In one sentence, how would you summarize the main idea of this parable? How does this parable speak to the situa...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 13:10-17

Carefully Think Read Matthew 13:10-17. How would you summarize this passage in one sentence? What is the relationship of this passage to 13:1-9, 18-23? What reason(s) did Jesus give for speaking to the crowds in parables? What is the contrast between the disciples' spiritual state and the majority in the crowds? What in the passage tells you that? What did the Jewi...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 13

Carefully Think Read all of Matthew 13. List all of the parables you find. What is similar about them? What phrases and words do you see repeated often? Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. Make a list of the different soils and how the seed sown in them responds. What is the main point of this parable? Are each of the soils a different type of Christian? False-Christians? How ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:46-50

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:46-50. Summarize this passage in one sentence. Where does this take place (see Mark 3:20; Matthew 13:1)? How does it related to the context of the previous paragraphs in chapter 12? Who is Jesus speaking to? Where are Jesus' mother and brothers? Are they referenced as his disciples in this passage? Read Mark 3:21. Why would Jesus' fa...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:43-45

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:43-45. Summarize the section in one sentence. What is the main idea here? In what ways does this passage relate to what has preceded it? What is Jesus saying here about the system of righteousness advocated by the Pharisees? What would have avoided the "last state of this person" being worse than the first? Prayerfully Meditate ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:33-37

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:33-37. Sum up this passage's main idea in one sentence. How does this passage fit specifically with Matthew 12:22-32? What does the analogy of good and bad trees/fruit suggest about Jesus' main idea? Why does Jesus refer to what a person says, rather than what a person does, as a key indicator as to what is in their heart? What does ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:22-32

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:22-32. How would you sum up this passage in one sentence? How does this passage continue the theme of opposition introduced in Chapter 11? What was the crowd's reaction to Jesus' healing the demon-possessed man? What was the Pharisee's response to the crowd? What were the Pharisee's saying about the authority of Jesus, as expressed i...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:15-21

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:15-21. Summarize the main point of this passage in one sentence. How does it related to his struggles with the Pharisees in the preceding sections (12:1-14)? What are the differences between the character of the Pharisees as seen in 12:1-14 and Jesus, as described in this passage (12:15-21)? Why would Jesus not want the crowds to make ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:9-14

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:9-14. How is this passage related to the scene just before (Matthew 12:1-8)? Who is it asking the question of Jesus in Matthew 12:10? What was their motive for asking Jesus what they did? Why did Jesus give the answer to their question as he did? What lesson was he teaching the Pharisees about the Sabbath? How was the man with the wit...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 12:1-8

Carefully Think Read Matthew 12:1-8 How would you sum up this passage in one sentence? How does this passage relate to 11:25-30 (can you see what Jesus was referring to as "labor" and "being heavy laden")? What is the primary problem the Pharisee's had with Jesus' disciples? Why do they bring it up to Jesus and not his disciples? In what ways were the disciples actua...

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Preparing for Sunday - 2 Thessalonians 1:3

Carefully Think Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12. Make a list of characteristics you see that describe the spiritual life of the church of the Thessalonians. How often does Paul find himself giving thanks for the Thessalonian church? For what is he most thankful for in this church? How does 1:3 describe their spiritual depth and its progress? How does 1:3 describe their...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 11:20-30

Carefully Think Read Matthew 11:20-24. How would you sum this section up in one sentence? Read Matthew 11:25-30. How would you sum this section up in one sentence? How do these two sections relate to one another? How do they complement 11:1-19? This is the only occasion in the New Testament that "Chorazin" is mentioned. Find Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, and Capernau...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 11:1-19

Carefully Think Read Matthew 11:1-19. Sum up this passage in one sentence. Why would John the Baptist ask the question about Jesus identity in light of his confession of Christ in John 1 and John 3? How does Jesus answer John's question and why is it significant? What does Jesus tell the crowds about the significance of John and his ministry? How and why can the "l...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:40-42

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:40-42. Sum up this passage in one sentence. In light of the entire passage (10:4-42), who does the "you" refer to in v 40? What does Jesus have in mind when he refers to someone "receiving" you? Why would Jesus link someon's reception of "us" to their reception of him and the Father? What is a prophet and what sort of reward will a p...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:34-39

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:34-39. Sum up the main idea of this passage in one sentence. How does this passage relate to the what has come before it in 10:1-33? What kind of "peace" is Jesus speaking about in this context? How do you know? List the relationships affected by Jesus' coming. Why would he mention these relationships? What is it about relating to Je...

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Preparing for Sunday - Acts 13:1-3

Carefully Think Read Acts 13:1-3. With it being Missions Sunday, consider what this passage indicates about the role of the local church in recognizing and sending missionaries. Read Acts 11:19-30. When and how was the church at Antioch founded and under what kind of circumstances? Who were the primary leaders in the church in Antioch? What do you learn about them? Wh...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:26-33

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:26-33. Sum up the main theme of this passage in one sentence. How does this passage fit with the previous verses (primarily 10:24-25 and the theme of persecution for disciple-making)? Make a list of reasons why disciples of Jesus should not be fearful of persecution. What is it (based on this context - look primarily at vv 32-33 for h...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:16-25

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:16-25 What is the overall main idea of these verses? How do these verses compliment the theme of the instructions given in chapter 10? In light of the main idea of this passage, in regard to what should we be wise and innocent? Make a list of what the disciples of Jesus should expect to happen to them. Can you think of instances in th...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:5-15 (Part 2)

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:5-15. List the various instructions Jesus gives to the 12. Who were the 12 to focus their ministry on? Who were they not to focus on? What was the relationship between the activities of the 12 and Jesus’ activity (Matt 9:35-38)? What does Matt 10:10 suggest is reason why the 12 were not to acquire gold, silver or copper, or take...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:5-15

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:5-15. List the various instructions Jesus gives to the 12. Who were the 12 to focus their ministry on? Who were they not to focus on? What was the relationship between the activities of the 12 and Jesus’ activity (Matt 9:35-38)? What does Matt 10:10 suggest is reason why the 12 were not to acquire gold, silver or copper, or take...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 10:1-4

Carefully Think Read Matthew 10:1-4. List what those who are mentioned were called to do. How do these activities relate to what Jesus was doing in Matthew 8 & 9? How are they different? What titles are used to describe the men Jesus called to him? What does each title suggest about their responsibilities? From what you have read in Matthew's Gospel thus far, whe...

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Preparing for Sunday - Daniel 7-12

Carefully Think Read through Daniel 7. How was the imagery of Daniel's vision interpreted for him in 7:15-27? Make a list of what you learn? What is God's role in the events described in this vision? What phrases do you see in Daniel 7 that would give any indication as to the timing of these events? Read Daniel 8 - how does this vision differ from the one in chapter ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Daniel 1-12

Carefully Think Read Daniel 1:1; 2:1; 5:1, 30, 31; 6:1; and 10:1. Where is Daniel? How many kings does he interact with? Read Daniel 1:1-20; 2:26-28; 6:1-10. Why is Daniel where he is and how would you characterize his character? Glance through the headings in your Bible of Daniel 1-6. Make a list of the sort of events recorded about his life. Glance through the head...

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Preparing for Sunday - Ezekiel 1-48 (Part 3)

For our final message in our series on Ezekiel: Carefully Think What are some of the first things that come to your mind when you think about the book of Ezekiel? Read 1:1-3. What time period in Israel's history is Ezekiel's ministry? Where is Ezekiel? How does this compare to when and where Jeremiah was ministering? Read Ezekiel 36. What does God promise Judah and I...

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Preparing for Sunday - Ezekiel 1-48 - Part 2

Carefully Think What are some of the first things that come to your mind when you think about the book of Ezekiel? Read 1:1-3. What time period in Israel's history is Ezekiel's ministry? Where is Ezekiel? How does this compare to when and where Jeremiah was ministering? Read 1:4-28. What do you learn about God in this vision? What is being communicated about his attri...

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Preparing for Sunday - Ezekiel 1-48

Carefully Think What are some of the first things that come to your mind when you think about the book of Ezekiel? Read 1:1-3. What time period in Israel's history is Ezekiel's ministry? Where is Ezekiel? How does this compare to when and where Jeremiah was ministering? Read 1:4-28. What do you learn about God in this vision? What is being communicated about his attri...

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Preparing for Sunday - Jeremiah 1-52 - Part 3

Carefully Think How did Judah respond to Jeremiah (26:7-19; 37:11-15; 38:1-6)? Read 30-33 - What are these chapters about? Read 46-51 - What are these chapters about? What reasons can you discern in these chapters as to why God treats the nations as he does? Read 48:46-47; 49:5, 6, 39 - Which nations receive these promises? What does this indicate about God's ultimat...

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New Elder Candidate - Brandon Ferguson

Since 2009, SWBC has been functioning under the biblical polity of biblical eldership. As we move forward together as an eldership and as a congregation, we are all mindful of the need to recognize, develop, and present new elders to the church for affirmation. Presenting new men to become elders of SWBC has been one of the highest priorities of the current elders over the...

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Preparing for Sunday - Jeremiah 1-52 - Part 2

Carefully Think What was Judah's chief problem (2:4, 11-13)? How deeply affected was Judah in their sin (5:1-6)? In what was Judah falsely trusting (7:1-4)? How did Jeremiah's life serve as an illustration for Judah to see their sin and God's judgment (16:1-9)? How did Judah respond to Jeremiah (26:7-19; 37:11-15; 38:1-6)? Read 30-33 - what are these chapters about...

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Preparing for Sunday - Jeremiah 1-52

Carefully Think The following suggestions are to help you get a glimpse of the book as a whole. Read Jeremiah 1:1-19. This chapter is a good overview of many of the themes in the book. What themes do you see emphasized? What do you learn about Jeremiah in this chapter? What do you learn about God in this chapter? What do you learn about Judah in this chapter? What ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Carefully Think Read Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 Make a list of everything you learn about what God, the Father does or is like. Make a list of everything you learn about God's "servant." What does he do and why? What is he like? Who is speaking in 52:13-15? Who is speaking in 53:1-12? How do the speakers of 53:1-12 feel about what the servant of God did and went through? ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Isaiah 40-66

Carefully Think Read Isaiah 40. What do you learn about God? Why would Israel need this vision of God? Read Isaiah 45. According to this chapter, who is Cyrus and how does God use him? Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. What do you learn about the Lord's Servant? Read Isaiah 55. How does God describe salvation? Read Isaiah 58. What is God looking for in genuine fasting? Read...

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Preparing for Sunday - Isaiah 1-39 (Part 2)

Carefully Think Last week we entered back into our Touring the Old Testament series and the book of Isaiah, specifically, focusing on God's judgment of sin and his confrontation of his own people (chapters 1-12). This week we will focus on chapters 13-39. Read through or briefly skim through chapters 13-24. What is God doing in these chapters and why? What nations are ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Isaiah

Carefully Think This Sunday we pick up again with our summer tour in the Old Testament and our focus will be on the Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. We begin with Isaiah. Our aim in these "preparing" posts is to make you familiar with the major themes running through the book. In that light, read through Isaiah 1:1-31. This is a good...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 9:35-38

Carefully Think Read Matthew 9:35-38 How does this compare to 4:23? What do these two bookends reveal to us regarding the content of Matthew 5:1-9:34? Read 9:35. What was Jesus teaching? What was it about the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus was preaching? In light of what we have studied in Matthew 8-9, why was Jesus healing? Read 9:36. What was Jesus' response to t...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 9:18-34

Carefully Think Read Matthew 9:18-34 This section contains three healing events (with 5 different people being healed). List each of these three events. Where was Jesus when the first healing event began? Who approaches Jesus and what does he want? What does this first individual think about Jesus? How would you describe his interest in Christ? What is the differenc...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 9:14-17

Carefully Think Read Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39. Who came to Jesus and what were they wanting to know from him? What does Jesus' answer teach you about what should motivate fasting? Read 9:16-17 carefully and think through how these illustrations speak to the issue brought up in vv 14-15 (also keep in mind what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 9:9-13

Carefully Think Read Matthew 9:9-13; Mark2:14-17; Luke 5:27-32. What are the similaries and differences? List everything you learn about Matthew. What do you learn about the disciples? Why are they mentioned? Why do the Pharisees target them for their questions about Jesus? Who attends the meal with Jesus? Why is this significant? What title do the Pharisees use for...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 8:23-9:8

Carefully Think Read through Matthew 8:23-9:8 What are the 3 miracles performed by Jesus in this section? Which verses correspond to each of them? What examples of strong faith do you find in these 3 miracles? What examples of weak or no faith do you find? List all the titles used to address Christ in the passage. Who uses which title? What do you learn about who Ch...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 8:18-22

Carefully Think Read Matthew 8:18-22 What did Jesus command his disciples to do? What motivated him to command this? What does "the other side" refer to? Where is this? How do you know? Where have we seen "scribes" mentioned thus far in the book of Matthew? From these places, what do we know about them, especially in relation to Jesus' ministry? What does the scribe...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 8:1-17

Carefully Think Read Matthew 8:1-17. What are the three specific acts of healing? Note any similarities between the healings in this section. What is different about each one? What sort of people are healed in this section? Why is that significant? Read Leviticus 13 & 14 for background about the OT view of leprosy and being cleansed from it. What is significant ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 8-9 & Resurrection Sunday

Carefully Think Read Matthew 8-9. Make a list of who is healed, of what they are healed, how they were healed, is anything about their faith described, and what was the response (if any is listed). What do these chapters teach about what it means to follow Jesus? Find all the references made to Jesus' authority. What do you learn? List all of the titles used to desc...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 7:28-29 & Chapters 5-7

Carefully Think Read Matthew 7:28-29. What was the crowd's response to Jesus sermon? Why? What was it about this sermon that separated Jesus' authority from that of the scribes? Who are the scribes? Read back through the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5-7. What are the major sections of this sermon and can you summarize each section? What are the themes emphasized ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 7:24-27

Carefully Think Read Matthew 7:24-27. How does this passage relate to the previous three sections in 7:13-23? Two men who build a house are given as examples. What is similar between the two? What is different between the two men? In this context, what do "these words of mine" (vv 24, 26) refer to? How does this definition of "these words of mine" define what kind o...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 7:21-23

Carefully Think Read Matthew 7:21-23 What is the connection of this passage with the others in this section of 7:13-29? Why would "Lord" be repeated twice in how someone addressed Jesus? What is Jesus saying about himself when he indicates that some are calling him "Lord, Lord?" From reading this passage, when does this interchange between Jesus and a professing bel...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 7:15-20

Carefully Think Read Matthew 7:15-20. What are the characteristics of the False Prophets mentioned? What is "sheep's clothing" referring to? How do you know? Where in their lives(v 15) does the False Prophets "ravenous" nature exist? How does this fit with looking at the external fruit of the False Prophets? What is a False Prophet? What is most important to pay at...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 7:13-14

Carefully Think Read Matthew 7:13-29. List the different analogies Jesus uses in these verses? What is he teaching through each of them? How do they relate to each other? Read Matthew 7:13-14 Why should we seek to enter through the narrow gate? What is this narrow gate leading to? How do you know from this context (cf. 5:20; 7:21)? What are the characteristics of th...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:25-34

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:25-34. What is the connection between this passage and Matthew 6:19-24? What is the "therefore" referring to in 6:25? What issues of life does Jesus bring up over which we should not be anxious? What is the point behind the illustrations of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field in 6:26-30? According to 6:30, what is misplac...

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Preparing for Sunday - Critical Questions Concerning the Lord's Supper

Preparing Your Heart for the Table Read 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. What does the cup at the Lord’s table suggest? What does 1 Corinthians 10:17 suggest about us when we take the bread together? Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. What does it mean to “remember” the Lord when you take of the elements? How are you examining yourself and your relationship to the...

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Preparing for Sunday-The Gospel and Abortion

Carefully Think Read through Psalm 139. What details do you see in this psalm that speak to the issues involved in the subject of abortion? Read Psalm 139:13-16 again. How much is God involved in life even before conception? Read Jeremiah 1:5. What does it mean that God "knew" Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb? What else had God determined for Jereimaih befor...

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Preparing for Sunday - 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Carefully Think Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 How does Paul describe God's wisdom and what role does preaching play in it? What do Jews and Greeks seek in distinction from what believers seek (1:22-23)? What is Christ to those who believe (1:24). What characterized Paul's preaching when he came to the city of Corinth (2:1, 4)? What did Paul avoid in his preaching (2:...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:16-18

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:16-18 How would you define biblical fasting? List as many biblical examples as you can of people who fasted. Why did they fast? What did they do when they fasted? How long did they fast? Did it ever include anything other than abstaining from food? What emotions were present as people fasted? List what Jesus says not to do when fasting ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:11-15

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:5-15. Remind yourself of the main idea Jesus is promoting in the entire section. How does it relate to the main principle in 6:1? What is the difference in emphasis between 6:9-10 and 6:11-15? Why is the focus on "daily" bread? • What does Jesus suggest motivates us praying for forgiveness (v 12). If God does not tempt us (James 1...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:9-10

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:9-15. Recall last week's message; what are we praying for when we ask for God's name to be hallowed? What does it mean to "hallow" God's name? Who is being asked to "hallow" God's name? What is God's kingdom and when is it "coming?" How is God's will done in heaven? What are we praying when we ask for it to be done on earth? Prayerf...

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A Helpful Prayer Resource

A helpful resource to assist you in regularly praying for state and national leaders....

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:9-15

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:9-15. Think back on the points from last week's sermon on what should not mark righteous praying. How does this prayer in 6:9-15 counter what Jesus warned against in 6:5-8? List each request you see in 6:9-15. Look carefully at vv9-10 and vv 11-13 - what are the differences between these two portions of the prayer? What do the plural p...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:2-4

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:2-4 How does this illustrate the principle given in 6:1? Why is giving to the needy emphasized? What would the purpose be of announcing someone’s giving by trumpet? Why would the synagogues and the streets be the place for the hypocrites to announce their giving? What is the key motivation of the hypocrites for drawing attention ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 6:1

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:1-18 What are the similar phrases and terms used in this section? What religious practices does Jesus highlight in this section? Why? How does 6:1 related to what Jesus said in 5:16? How are these passages similar and different? How are they not contradictory? In what ways does 6:1 serve as a general pricinple for 6:2-18? How is 6:1-1...

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Preparing for Sunday - Romans 15:22-29

Carefully Think Read Romans 15:22-29. Who is Paul writing to (Rom 1:7)? Why does Paul now feel he has the ability to go to Rome? In addition to visiting with the saints in Rome, what does Paul want to accomplish while with them? What ministry is he presently involved in as he writes to the Romans? When he finishes his present ministry task, what does he want to do? ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 5:43-48

Carefully Think Read Matthew 5:43-48. Sum up the main idea in one short sentence. What is 5:43 referring to? Where was this taught? If Jesus did not come to do away with the law, how does his statement of 5:44 fit with what was taught in 5:43? What reasons does Jesus give for praying for your enemies and persecutors (5:45)? What does He mean by these illustrations? ...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 5:38-42

Carefully Think Read Matthew 5:38-42. Summarize in one sentence what the main idea is. How does Matthew 5:38-42 fit with the idea Jesus expressed in 5:17-20? Read Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; and Deuteronomy 19:21. What are these passages teaching about retaliation? Why would the OT emphasize this? How do these OT passages help you understand what Jesus is referrin...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 5:33-37

Carefully Think Read Matthew 5:33-37. Summarize in one sentence what Jesus’ main point is. How does this passage relate to what Jesus said in 5:17-20? What are the similarities and differences between this passage and the previous sections (anger: 5:21-26; lust: 5:27-30; divorce: 5:31-32)? Read through the following OT passages: Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; Nu...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 5:31-32

Getting to the Heart of Divorce...

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Preparing for Sunday - Matthew 5:27-30

Carefully Think Read Matthew 5:27-30. How does this passage describe what Jesus was talking about in Matt 5:17-20? Who gave the teaching, “You shall not commit adultery?” How does Jesus see his words in comparison to what was taught? What does Jesus liken to adultery in the passage? Why? In verses 29-30 Jesus advocates some radical actions. Why do you t...

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