This week, we consider the opening words of Luke to Theophilus in Acts 1:1-11. While some debate whether this second volume should be seen as “The Acts of the Apostles”
or the “Acts of the Holy Spirit,” Luke makes it clear that the book of Acts is a continuation of his first volume (i.e. The Gospel of Luke). The book of Acts is about what Jesus “continues to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1). As we consider these words, we pray, “Oh Lord Jesus Christ, open our eyes to see what you continue to do and to teach in our lives and those of others today.”
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In Isaiah 42:1-9, Isaiah anticipates that Jesus is God’s chosen servant. As we pay attention to the first part of this prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 by considering its immediate context and fulfillment quoted in Matthew 12:18-21, we see that Jesus, God’s chosen servant, is worthy of a person and nation’s hopes for justice, peace and mending.
Some struggle with what God is like; many struggle to see how God is present. This was also true in the time and place where Isaiah spoke. With this in mind, Isaiah offers words of great comfort for us today when he anticipated that Jesus is one about whom people can now say, “Here is your God.” The presence of Jesus is that of “the sovereign Lord” (40:10); his rule is like a “shepherd that tends his flock” (40:11). Truly, we have in him good news; truly, we can lift our voices to him.
Sometimes, the evil we see around us and in us makes it hard to see the light of Jesus; at least, it can be hard to see how the light of Jesus shines in the darkness. On Sunday morning, Nov 25, we considered from Isaiah 8:16-9:7 that the “wonderful” rule of Jesus is like a light dawning in the darkness.
We began a seven-week series in which we will carefully “pay attention” to the “Anticipated Present Realities of Jesus.” Said simply, “What do we learn from Isaiah about the REALITY of Jesus TODAY?”
On Nov 18, we considered what Isaiah 7:1-8:15 says that Jesus is “Immanuel, God with us.” Jesus is “Immanuel, the Holy One with us.”
Study helps and audio from this five week series from April 22-May 20 2012 now available.
Over these five weeks, we look at what we can learn from Daniel 1-6 about how God demonstrates his authority over earthly kingdoms and disciplines his children to live under his authority in what are sometimes very complex situations. The hope from series is that our confidence in Christ’s purposeful rule will grow and we might be more attentive to submit to the Lord’s discipline as we live under his rule in the difficult situations we face in our daily lives and in the contexts in which we live.
During the Morning Service at ICB for the period of November 18 – December 30 2012, we unfold a series from selected passages in Isaiah. The series is called, "Anticipated Present Realities of Jesus." Through this series, we will pay attention to selected passages in Isaiah where Isaiah anticipates the coming of Jesus. The hopes Isaiah anticipated are now present realities through Jesus. Through this Isaiah Series, we shall prayerfully consider ways these “hopes anticipated” might shape our present experience and understanding of Jesus.
Over the last eight weeks, we have been opening together an invitation, a calling,which all people have received from God. It is the invitation and calling to “live in the grace of Christ.” We have explored how one enters this grace through Jesus; marveled at the freedom into which God calls us; and been challenged by how the Holy Spirit leads us to walk in this grace of Christ. It has been a transforming journey.
We conclude this series by looking at what Paul writes in Galatians 6:11-18 about “What Counts.” When it is all said and done, what is the living that counts?
Over the last weeks, we have considered many dimensions of the invitation and calling God extends to all people to live in the grace of Christ. As we consider ways those who have entered this grace through Jesus might live in this grace of Christ, it is essential that we learn how the Holy Spirit helps us to help one another “sow to please the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 6:8). This is a difficult but essential process.
On October 28 2012, we explored two remarkable aspects of the grace of Christ: First, by the grace of Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us see the OBVIOUS differences in ourselves between the actions of the flesh and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Second, by the grace of Christ, the Holy Spirit teaches us and empowers us to “keep in step with Holy Spirit” focused on Christ.