2. On the Hill of the Lord . . . God Tests, Provides, and Blesses (Genesis 22:1-19)

September 19, 2021 • David Schrock • Genesis 22:1–19, Hebrews 11:1–19

God said what? He told his servant Abraham to go and sacrifice his son, only son, Isaac, the one whom he loved. And did he? Is that what God requires? Why would God do that? And why would Abraham obey? If the conversation about Genesis 22 is challenging, imagine how difficult the conversation between father and son was between aged Abraham and Isaac, his teenage son. As they walked for three days to the hill of the Lord: Isaac: Father, where is the sacrifice? Abraham: The Lord will provide, son. And indeed, the Lord did provide—for Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and us! In Genesis 22, we enter one of the richest passages in the Bible. Every verse says something to us about God, his demands on humanity, his provision for humanity, and the pathway of death that leads to life. Indeed, if you are feeling tried and tested and on the verge of despair and death, Genesis 22 is for you. In looking at Genesis 22 this Sunday, we not only see an incredible moment in history, we also see a picture of what Christ’s cross accomplished and how we are to carry our cross in obedience to Jesus. To prepare for Sunday, take time to read Genesis 22. Read it slow. Read it a few times. See what is there, and pray that God might speak to us this Sunday as we consider these words together. As God allows we will gather on Sunday at 8:30am and 11:00am to dig into this glorious passage. May the Lord give us faith as we behold the way he provides salvation for those who trust in him. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions for Genesis 22 1. Before this week, how have thought about this passage? Has it been a source of comfort? Concern? Something else? 2. What does it mean that God tested Abraham? How is this unique to Abraham? And how is typical of all believers? 3. What is the arrangement of the text? How does seeing the structure help you see the drama? Why is important to slow down to see the drama in Scripture? 4. What are some of types and shadows that point to Christ? How do those types help us understand Christ’s cross? 5. How do we know that the connections from Genesis 22 to Christ are legitimate? What if we don’t make those connections? What are some of New Testament texts that help us make those connections? 6. What does Genesis 22 teach us about God and his provision? 7. What does Genesis 22 teach us about the gospel? 8. How does the experience of Abraham and Christ teach us to carry our cross? What does Genesis 22 teach us about discipleship? 9. How are you being tested today? How does Genesis 22 bolster your faith? How can we pray for you?

13. The Supremacy of Christ and His New Covenant (Hebrews 9)

December 5, 2021 • David Schrock • Hebrews 9

As we come to the last message of our series on the cross, before considering the cradle and the cross of Christ (our Advent mini-series) we will return to the theme that we started with—the finished work of Christ. If Christ declared that it was finished on the cross (John 19:30). And his crucifixion completed the work described in Psalm 22 (see v. 31). Then Hebrews 9 gives us another passage where the once and for all work of Christ is extolled and explained. In fact, in describing the ways that Christ is better than all the persons, events, and institutions that preceded him in Israel, Hebrews 9 explains how the cross works—both on earth and in heaven. As you have time, read Hebrews 9 and pray that God would open our eyes to see all the ways that Christ fulfills all the types and shadows of the Old Testament. Indeed, all of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings point to Christ, and this Sunday, Lord willing, we will see how that works once and for all. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Discussion & Response Questions for Hebrews 9 1. What are the key components of the Levitical system of sacrifice? (Hint: there are four) 2. What do you know about each—the tabernacle, the priesthood, the sacrifices, and the covenant? 3. Why is it necessary to know these components of the sacrificial system, if you want to know the finished work of Christ? 4. How does Christ’s cross (and resurrection and ascension) fulfill the sacrificial system? 5. In what ways does Hebrews 9 depend upon and quote the Old Testament to explain Christ’s death and resurrection? 6. How is Christ better? Why is this good news for the Jewish followers of Christ? How is this good news for us? 7. What does it mean that Christ is the mediator of a new covenant? 8. What did the blood of Christ accomplish? Remember, the blood applies in two directions in Hebrews 9. 9. How does Christ purify heaven? How do we see that in the text?  10. How does the inauguration of the new covenant and the exaltation of Christ into heaven change the world? And impact your life?

12. The Cross of Christ Demonstrates, Defines, and Diffuses the Love of God (1 John 4:7-12)

November 28, 2021 • David Schrock • 1 John 4:7–12

Where do you look when you don’t feel the love of God? This Sunday we will look to 1 John 4 to answer that question. And what we will find is that the unchanging and objective work of God also has a personal and subjective application to all those who are in Christ. Indeed, the cross not only does something for us, it does something to us. And this Sunday we will see what that is. To prepare for Sunday, take time to read 1 John. While our focus will be on 1 John 4:7–12, the whole book is aimed to give assurance to God’s people, all the while exposing unbelief. So take time to read and pray for our gathering. I look forward to seeing you Sunday, as the Lord allows, and to worshipping Christ with you. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions for 1 John 4 1. What have you learned so far this fall about the cross? 2. Why is it important to first see the cross as something Christ achieved (“It is finished”) before seeing it as something where God displays his love? 3. What does John say about love in 1 John 4? 4. In what ways is it difficult to know or embrace God’s love? 5. What does the cross teach us about God’s love? And how does it produce love in us? 6. How does the church, who is dedicated to the cross, show the love of God? 7. What else did you learn about the love of God? 8. Who needs to hear from you about the love of God?

11. Reconciliation (Colossians 1:15-2:15)

November 21, 2021 • David Schrock • Colossians 1:15—2:15

Since the start of our series on the cross, one recurring theme we have seen is the way that judgment and salvation are paired. In the Passover, God saved his firstborn and judged Egypt’s firstborns. At the Red Sea, God saved his people and destroyed Pharaoh and his army. Just the same, as I read 2 Kings 3 this week, I found this theme again. The water that God provided to save Israel is the same water that brought the Moabites to their death. In short, God’s judgment is never without salvation. And his salvation is never without judgment. From the flood of Noah to the end of time, we find salvation and judgment. And this week, we will see how Paul joins these two works of God in the cross of Christ. In Colossians 1:20, Paul says that the blood of Christ’s cross is reconciling all of creation. And in what follows (1:21–2:23) he explains how that happens – through salvation and judgment. In these two chapters Paul identifies whom the cross saves and whom the cross judges. And for us, as we keep our eyes fixed on Christ, we will see how the cross has cosmic, as well as personal implications. To prepare for Sunday, take time to read Colossians—it’s not long. On Sunday, we will start with Colossians 1:20 and then follow Paul’s twofold explanation of Christ’s cosmic reconciliation that relates to salvation and judgment. I can’t wait to see you Sunday, as the Lord allows, and to worship the risen Christ with you. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions for Colossians 1-2 1. How has the pattern of salvation and judgment been seen in the Bible? And how has that pattern helped you better understand the cross? 2. In what ways does Paul speak of the cross in Colossians? And how do the creation themes relate to the cross? 3. Look at Colossians 1:20. What does this verse not mean? (Hint: No universal salvation) And how do make sense of what it does mean? (Hint: keep reading the letter) 4. Paul uses the word “reconciliation” in Colossians 1:20 and 1:22. This is the same word, but is it used in the same way? If not, why not? How do we know? 5. According to Colossians 1–2, how does Christ reconcile the cosmos? Why does this matter? 6. What does the cross do for God’s elect (Col. 3:9)? Where do we see that in the text? (Hint: 1:21–23; 2:11–14) 7. What does the cross do for God’s enemies? Where do we see that in the text? (Hint: 2:15) 8. What does penal substitution mean? What does Christus Victor mean? How do they relate? And how do they resonate with the storyline of salvation and judgment? 9. How do we apply these two aspects of the cross? Look at 1:24–2:8 and 2:16–23. 10. What else do you see in Colossians 1–2?