A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bible Study Summary - Upcoming Sunday's Scriptures

Here at Lancaster First UMC, I am privileged to be part of two weekly bible study groups that study the scriptures for the upcoming Sunday worship services.

Below are the notes from this week's bible study:

I. Review last Sunday’s theme on music and being “in concert with God.”
- Country music reminds us that we are sinners in need of God’s grace. God can reshape and mold us into the people we are called to be like a potter who fashions clay. (Jeremiah 18)
- Country music helps us to express our grief and the frustrations we experience in life.

II. This Sunday – “In Concert with God – Rock Music”

A. Psalm 150
- Creation’s hymn of praise to God.
- Other Psalms end with a doxology. Psalm 150 serves as a doxology for the Book of Psalms. Psalm 146-150 serve as one long final doxology. Worship comes from both the sanctuary (v.1) and creation itself (v.2)
- All types of music are used for this praise & worship.
- Humans & animals offer their praise. (v.6)
- Charles Wesley wrote a hymn on this – “Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above”

(Connection between Rock Music & Biblical Prophets)

B. Malachi 3:1-4
- Last book of Old Testament
- Collection of prophecies to Jewish community in early 5th century BCE after first waves of exiles had rebuilt the temple & before Ezra & Nehemiah had arrived on the scene.
- Malachi is a call to holiness & social justice. The theme of repentance preceding the appearance of the Lord is picked up in the gospels with John the Baptist preparing the way before the appearance of Jesus.

C. Matthew 3:1-12 (Like the prophet, Malachi, John the Baptist is a prophet.)
- Scene: Think of president arriving in a town for an appearance. People gather.
Think 2,000 years ago & rumors of a king returning. People gather in a desert. (Long awaited Jewish hope!) People get ready! But the people weren’t ready.
They knew that repentance needed to precede arrival of the king. (see Malachi) This is why John the Baptist calls forth repentance.
- Baptism in the river symbolized the crossing of the Red Sea. This will be an even greater crossing and conquest!
- Warning: Axe to cut down tree for a bonfire or be a fruitful tree. (verse 10)
- Meaning of God’s Kingdom – Later, even John the Baptist was confused. (Matt. 11:2-6)

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