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Monday, November 28, 2011

KOTH - Topic No. 11 - "The Christ Child"

Luke 2:1-20
New International Version (NIV)
Luke 2
The Birth of Jesus
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests
 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

            It is possible to be an intelligent, critically thinking person and still believe that the story told above is accurate and true.
            Have your opinions ever been swayed by someone’s eyewitness account of an event?  Then the story told through scripture above should sway your opinion about Jesus.  This event really did happen.  Eyewitness testimony accounts for it.
When you hold a Bible in your hands, essentially you are holding copies of ancient historical records.  
Hundreds of archeological findings have been unearthed, and they actually support the testimonies of eye witness accounts of Jesus.
Over 60 different prophesies were fulfilled when Jesus was born.   Jesus Christ himself said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46, NKJV) Moses himself spoke of the coming Messiah:  'I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him'.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19, NKJV).  It was prophesied that He would be a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem,  and Shem’s son, Abraham, and of Abraham’s line through Isaac, of the seed of Jacob, in the family line of Jesse, of the house of David, that He would be born in a small town of Bethlehem, and born of a virgin Mary (Genesis, Numbers, Jeremiah, 2 Samuel, Micah, Psalms).
It was also prophesied in the Old Testament that the Savior, Jesus, would come while the Temple of Jerusalem was still standing, that He would perform many miracles (Isaiah 29 and 35), the Gentiles would believe in Him and the Jews (His own people) would not (Isaiah 8, 28, 49), that a messenger from the wilderness would prepare a way for Him (Malachi 3), that He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9), He would be betrayed (Psalm 41) for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11), and that money would be used to buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11), Jesus would be beaten and spat upon (Isaiah 50), His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22), that His bones would not be broken (Psalm 34), his clothing would be divided and they would cast lots for them (Psalm 22), He would be given vinegar and gall to drink (Psalm  69), He would cry out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”, (Psalm 22), He would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 22), His body would not decay (Psalm 16), He would be resurrected from the dead (Psalm 16), He will ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68),  He will be seated at the right hand of God (Psalm 110), and He would be the Son of God (Psalm 2).
The probability of all of those exact prophecies being fulfilled is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.
Need I say more?

The Messiah: Prophecy Fulfilled

Starring Nick Mancuso
a compelling Gospel drama A compelling Gospel presentation centered on a Jewish Seder dinner (Passover)
Platinum Award Winner 2002, Houston Film Festival

Questions and Answers to share with your KOTH partner:
1.      Would you bet on a horse in the Kentucky Derby who had a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 chance of winning?  Why not?
2.      Were you aware of all of the above-mentioned prophesies being foretold hundreds and hundreds of years before Christ’s birth?
3.      Look up just 5 of the prophesies, and find their corresponding fulfillment of scripture in the New Testament, and share them with your KOTH partner. (Here’s some help: )
4.      When you see a baby Jesus lying in a manger this Christmas season, will you be reminded of all of the prophecies His birth, life, and resurrection fulfilled?
5.      How can you use this information to help you witness to a non-believer?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Topic No. 10 - "Salt of the Earth"

"You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people.”  - Matthew 5:13

            We all know that salt flavors food and makes it pleasing to eat.  But did you ever stop to think that salt also acts as a preservative in food and keeps it from putrefying (spoiling)?  Salt preserves from corruption and salt prevents bacteria and decay in foods.  As disciples of Christ, we are to preserve the world (and ourselves) from general corruption.  If salt has lost its flavor, it has also lost its preservation quality.  It preserves no longer.  It is fit only to be tossed out and thrown on the ground.  If we who are called to be the salt of the earth cease to teach others about Jesus’ saving grace, we are fit to be cast out and trampled.

            One study bible says that salt had religious and sacrificial significance. It symbolized the making of a covenant. To eat salt with someone meant to be bound together in loyalty.  As the salt of the earth, Christians are meant to be preservers of God's covenant and give proper flavor to society. By acting as salt, we preserve what is necessary, and we keep something important from perishing. We add an ingredient to humanity that enlivens everything, bringing out what is alive and meaningful, brightening the flavor of life. Without our own savor or flavor, we cannot do this. We become useless.

Questions/Answers to Share with your KOTH Partner:

1.     We are called to be a positive influence on the world.  Can you think of ways that you can be a positive influence in your own home, your church, your neighborhood, your place of employment?
2.    Go to scripture and find one other verse that speaks of being “salt of the earth” and share it with your KOTH partner.
3.    In what way can your KOTH partner pray for you in regards to this topic?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Topic No. 9 - "I'm Holier Than You Christianity"

I’ve done it.  You’ve done it.  It’s been done to me, and it’s been done to you.

This unmistakably holier-than-you attitude is extremely destructive to true brotherhood and proper fellowship and unity. Luke 18:9-14 records this teaching of Christ concerning self-righteousness and its effects on these matters. Those who elevate themselves in their judgment of themselves as compared to their fellow members bring on themselves this condemnation. God does not justify them when they make this kind of judgment.

Having a holier-than-thou attitude is very caustic to true sisterhood and proper fellowship and harmony.

Luke 18:9-14 says,

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

   13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
   14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Our nature seeks to exalt itself above others, to esteem itself "holier than thou" (Isaiah 65:5).

“Yet they say to each other, 'Don't come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!' These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.”

God will humiliate those who seek to exalt themselves for He does not pay attention to the spiritually proud but to the contrite and humble (Isaiah 66:2).

These are the ones I look on with favor:
   those who are humble and contrite in spirit

Each person is responsible for cleaning up his character and humbling himself before God. Each is not responsible for judging his brother so critically it drives a wedge between them and separates them. Such a person does not even see his own sin! In such a case, he could not be in God's Kingdom because that manner of thinking would continue right on into it, and God will not allow it there.

Humility is the key to oneness with God. Consequently, it is also the key to oneness with our brethren. God's way of achieving oneness is for each person to be so attuned to God that he is motivated to do everything possible to ensure that the relationship (with God or fellow man) is never broken.

Remember that God is judging us individually within each group. An attitude that we should not allow to grow in us is to think that we are the only ones who retain a true-church identity. The other side of that same concept is that, even if we agree that others are still part of the true church, we are still better than they are—indeed, everybody else is less than we are by comparison.

Luke 6:42:  How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

KOTH Questions and Answers:

  1. Have you ever experienced someone's "I'm-Holier-Than-You" attitude towards you?  How did that make you feel?
  2. Did that attitude draw you closer to Christianity...or push you away from it?
  3. Define "humility."
  4. How does God want you to witness to someone?
  5. In what way can you have more humility when witnessing to others?