From the Cradle to the Cross

Genesis 3:15 + Matthew 1:21 + Revelation 12

3. The Seed of the Woman Wins (Revelation 12)

December 26, 2021 • David Schrock • Revelation 12

Merry Christmas! At Easter, we declare “He is risen!” “He is risen, indeed!” And at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus because he is the risen Lord. Tonight (at 5:00pm and 7:00pm) and on Sunday (at 11:00am) we will gather to worship our Lord, the Son of God, who was born so that we could be born again. As you have time, let me encourage you to read Matthew 1 and Revelation 12, the two passages we will consider this weekend. You can also find a Christmas devotional on Matthew 1 here and Isaiah 7:14 here. In our Christmas Eve service, we will see how Christ fulfills the promises to Abraham, David, and Israel. At the same time, take time to invite a friend to join us tonight. It’s not too late, and the good news of Christ is too good not to share. Then, on Sunday, we will turn to Revelation to see how the seed of the woman has been born to defeat the devil. Thankfully, the message of Christmas does not end in Bethlehem (the house of bread), it ends in heaven (the house of God). And on Sunday, we will see how Christ’s ascension to heaven gives his people hope and strength here on earth. To that end, let's pray that God would strengthen his saints. In a world of moral darkness and omicron doom, I look forward to singing Christmas Carols with you tonight and recounting the ways that God has brought his light and salvation into the world. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions 1. As we come to the last sermon of the year, what book, truth, passage of Scripture has been (most) helpful for you in 2021? 2. How has seeing Genesis 3:15 run across salvation history helped you better understand the Bible? 3. When you read Revelation, what helps you understand it? How does recognizing its symbolism help you understand it? What about it’s dependence on the Old Testament? 4. How does keeping Christ at the center of Revelation help you see what the book is about? 5. What does Revelation 12 teach you about Christ and the spiritual warfare in our world? 6. Why is it best to understand the mother in Revelation 12 as the messianic community more than Mary alone? How do the promises of a pregnant mother prepare us for Christ’s birth? See Isaiah 7:10–14; 26:17–27:6; 52:1–10; 66:7–12. 7. What is the good news of Christ’s ascension? What happens in heaven when Christ took his seat at God’s right hand? 8. What happens on earth after Christ is raised to heaven? How does knowing what has happened in heaven give us strength? 9. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” As we conclude one year and anticipate another, take time to reflect on the promises of God. How do the promises of Christ’s victory give you assurance to walk in faith today?

Christmas Eve (Matthew 1:1-17) | 5:00pm

December 24, 2021 • Ben Purves • Matthew 1:1–17

Christmas Eve (Matthew 1:1-17) | 7:00pm

December 24, 2021 • David Schrock • Matthew 1:1–17

2. The Seed of the Woman is Born (Matthew 1-2)

December 19, 2021 • David Schrock • Matthew 1—2

This Sunday, we will take up that theme again, as we see the seed of the woman born in Bethlehem. As we will discover, Matthew is not shy about making connections between Jesus and the seed of the woman, nor is he quiet about the way Herod presents himself as serpentine ruler like Pharaoh whose opposition to Christ results in his own demise. In fact, as we will see in Matthew 1–2, the promise of Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled with remarkable precision. And as we celebrate the birth of Christ on Sunday, we will ponder these two chapters. In preparation, let me encourage you to read Matthew 1–2 and to pray for the fruitfulness of God’s Word. We will look at both chapters on Sunday as we worship the risen Christ who reigns on high. Additionally, if you would like to pick up a rubber serpent on Sunday, one you can add to your manger scene to celebrate Christ’s defeat of Satan, just let me know. I might know where to find one. I hope to see you on Sunday. For Christ’s Glory and your joy, Pastor David ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Discussion & Response Questions for Matthew 1-2 1. When you celebrate Christmas, what are some of themes that encourage you the most? 2. How does reading the birth stories in Matthew and Luke in light of the Old Testament adjust your thoughts about Christmas? 3. What are the ways in which Matthew 1 connects Jesus’s birth to Genesis? The seed of the woman? 4. What are the way in which Matthew 2 shows Herod to be the serpent’s seed? And a foe soon to be defeated? 5. How does reading Matthew 1–2 with the storyline of Scripture impact / change / increase your understanding of Christ’s birth? 6. How does the theme of God’s victory over evil encourage you? Strengthen your confidence? Or embolden you? 7. Does knowing the spiritual warfare present in the Bible discourage you or raise other questions? 8. In what ways does God call us to follow the path of Christ? (Hint: put the indicative before the imperative — before we can do, we must rest in what he has done) 9. What else have you learned about Christ, the church, or the world by seeing Jesus as the seed of the woman?

1. The Seed of the Woman is Promised (Genesis 3:15)

December 12, 2021 • David Schrock • Genesis 3

In one sentence, can you give the message of the Bible? A few years ago, Dane Ortlund asked this question and received answers from a host of pastors, scholars, and other Christians, but one answer stood out from the rest and has taken on a life of its own. The answer comes from the provocateur, poet, and pastor, Douglas Wilson. He writes, "Scripture tells us the story of how a Garden is transformed into a Garden City, but only after a dragon had turned that Garden into a howling wilderness, a haunt of owls and jackals, which lasted until an appointed warrior came to slay the dragon, giving up his life in the process, but with his blood effecting the transformation of the wilderness into the Garden City." In short: Kill the Dragon, Get the Girl. Whereby the Dragon is the Twisted Serpent of the Garden, the Girl is the Bride of Christ described as a glorious Garden City in Revelation 21–22, and the Slayer of the Dragon is the Son of God who took on flesh to come and save his damsel in distress by destroying the Dragon by means of his own death and resurrection. That in a short sentence is the message of the Bible. And this Sunday we begin a three-week Christmas series following this storyline. If you want a longer introduction, see this blogpost Or, you can pick up the book The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer by Andy Naselli. We will have a few on the shelf at church. For all of us, as we come to celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas, let us remember why he came—to save us (his bride) from our sins and to deliver us from his enemy (the serpent). Sunday, we will celebrate both of these truths. And I look forward to joining with you and singing praises to our great God and King. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions for Genesis 3:15 1. When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind? What part of Christmas is the most 2. Why might a sentimental, Charles Dickens Christmas mislead our understanding of the birth of Christ? 3. What is the context of Genesis 3? What does Genesis 3:15 have to do with Christmas? 4. How do the birth stories, serpent sightings, and bruised heads of the Bible teach us about Christ? 5. What does the first gospel promise teach us about God? About ourselves? About salvation? 6. How does the seed warfare of the Bible inform our understanding of the world? 7. How do we need to crush the serpent under our feet today? 8. What other questions or encouragements does Genesis 3:15 elicit?