4. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16)

October 3, 2021 • David Schrock • Leviticus 16, Hebrews 9:23–28

At the center . . . of the center . . . of the center . . . of the law of Moses, we do not find law but gospel. What is the good news in the middle of the law of Moses? It is the promise in Leviticus 16:20–22 that your sins will be taken away. And this Sunday we will be looking at the Day of Atonement which holds forth the promise of this good news. As we continue our series on the cross, we will look at the Leviticus 16. In this chapter, the Day of Atonement, which is the center piece of Israel’s religion, is revealed. And more than that, the center of our hope in Christ's finished work on the cross is also revealed in the Day of Atonement. To prepare for Sunday, read Leviticus 16, as well as Hebrews 9. Together, these two chapters help us understand what Jesus accomplished on the cross and how God’s chief design for the law is the removal of all our sin, so that we can enter his presence through the priestly ministry of Christ. I look forward to seeing you Sunday and to marveling with you at God’s grace in bringing sinners like us into holy presence. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion and Response Questions for Leviticus 16 1. Before Sunday, how has the Day of Atonement played a role in your understanding of Christ’s cross? 2. What is something you learned from Leviticus 16 that enriched your understanding or increased your thanksgiving? 3. Where is Leviticus 16 located in the Law of Moses and the book of Leviticus? How does seeing the structure of the Pentateuch (Genesis–Deuteronomy) and the structure of Leviticus help you see the good news of the Law? Cf. 1 Timothy 1:8–11. 4. Why does the Lord begin with a reference to Nadab and Abide (see Lev. 10) ? What did they do? And what does this teach us about approaching God? 5. What role does the priest play in the Day of Atonement? How is Aaronic priest similar and different to Jesus? What do we learn about Christ’s death from the priestly actions? 6. What are the two movements in the Day of Atonement? (Hint: They are associated with the two sacrifices) What does this teach us about Christ’s cross? 7. What is the relationship between the Day of Atonement and the rest of the sacrificial system? How does that whole system relate to Christ? 8. How does reading Leviticus with Hebrews help us understand the Day of Atonement? How does the Day of Atonement enlarge our view of Christ’s work on the cross and its cosmic implications? 9. What other reflections or questions remain? How will the Day of Atonement help you read the New Testament going forward?

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?

10. The Righteousness of God Revealed (Romans 3:21-30)

November 14, 2021 • David Schrock • Romans 3:21–30, Psalm 32

Know justice, know peace. No justice, no peace. For the last few years, the theme of justice has filled America’s pulpits and public discourse. Yet, for all the attention given to it, there remains an insufficient understanding of this precious virtue. In Scripture, the God of justice, the righteous God of Israel, displays his justice in ways beyond his sending of prophets to decry Israel’s sin. Yes, the Old Testament has numerous prophets condemning Israel for their sins of injustice and idolatry. Just read Isaiah 5 or Amos 5. Yet, the prophets' main message centers on the coming messiah and the justice, make that the justification, that he will bring. Indeed, justice apart from justification is a pronouncement of law without gospel. Not surprisingly, a world that does not know the grace of the gospel will call for justice based upon their fallen understandings of law. However, for Christians, when we speak of justice, we must begin with God and follow his Word until it brings us to Christ’s cross. For on the cross, we see justice and justification. And this Sunday we will learn from Paul in Romans 3:21–31 what justice truly looks like. In preparation for Sunday, take time to read Romans 1–3. These chapters hang together and show us both our guilt before God and his grace in justifying sinners. This is the center of God’s gospel and the way that he brings justice into the world. Therefore, for Christians led by the Spirit and the Word, a call for justice is a call to seek the grace of God. And on Sunday, we will do just that. As the Lord allows, I look forward to seeing you Sunday and to worshiping the God of justice and justification! For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions for Romans 3:21-31 1. How is justice discussed today? In what ways is the rise of “justice-talk” helpful? Or unhelpful? 2. Where do we find the source and substance of justice? 3. What is the relationship between righteousness and justice? What are the ways Scripture talks about righteousness-justice? 4. How does Paul talk about justice in Romans 3:21–31? Why does it matter so much that Christians always connect justice to justification? 5. How did God reveal his righteousness? Was this revelation merely a display, or did this revelation do something? 6. What did the cross achieve, according to Romans 3:24–26? 7. Take time to talk about the three background images of these verses—the temple and altar (propitiation), the exodus/marketplace (redemption), and the law court (justification). How do these background images help us understand the cross? 8. What is the relationship between grace and faith, grace and justice, faith and justification? 9. How does Romans 3:21–31 help you know God? His Son? Your sin? Your salvation?