Jesus freaks His parents out – where’s our 12-year-old?

In RC Sprouls book, The Glory of Christ, he takes 15 events from Jesus life where its as if the glory of the deity of God particularly breaks through the perfect humanity of Christ. He writes, His humanity served as a veil that concealed the splendor of His deity. Yet there were moments when His glory shone through. It was as if the vessel of His human nature was not strong enough to conceal it at all times (p9).

In Luke 2 we read, “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”

It is not necessary to appeal to the divine in Jesus to account for His ability to astonish the learned professors. He could have done it with the sheer strength of His unaided perfect humanity

What a fallen man can learn by age forty could easily be surpassed by what an un-fallen person could learn by age twelve. A perfect twelve-year-old would be perfect in the clarity of his thought. His thinking would not be marred by errors of reasoning. The mind of the twelve-year-old Jesus would have been enough to astonish the most learned of fallen men

In Jesus reply to his parents when they finally find him in the temple after three days of missing him, he shows them two things: 1. that He is their son but also their savior, and 2. He came to do Gods will. We conclude then that this narrative of Jesus amazing the teachers in the temple reveals the glory of His identity [the
savior of the world], of His mission [to obey the Father’s will], and most clearly, of His perfect human nature (p49, 50, 52).

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The Gathering – youth group handout

The Gathering

The God Who is Unfathomably Wise[1] (Part Dos of Dos)

First Things: Last week we learned… The God who made all things gives us wisdom-teaching to show us about His wise character, and how to live well in His world He made. The good news is that we can’t and don’t chose the narrow path every time, but Christ did so that through Him we would have the favor of God, walking in His paths.

1. In Proverbs 1:1-7, why did Solomon write the book / to whom? What makes him qualified to yak like this (should we listen)? Ecclesiastes (1:1-3, 2:1-11) says all under the sun does not satisfy – so where do we look for satisfaction, identity, a sense of who we are?

2. What is wisdom? Wisdom is fearing the LORD, being teachable, and having skill in godly living.[2] There is a judge to whom we will give account.

3. According to v7, how do we get it? What is the fear of God / what does it NOT mean to fear God? Kicked dog v. matchlessly holy God and our judge and our only hope.

4. Another "Wisdom Book" – Job: Job’s friends – "God is both Sovereign and perfectly just so your suffering is because of some hidden sin"; mono-wise view of God; answer from God: have you ever designed a snow flake? God is not easily figured out in 50 words or less. Another mono-wise view: why sin and suffering? God is either sovereign and bad (doesn’t want to stop suffering) OR He is not sovereign and good (can’t stop evil but would like to); Punchline: God is BOTH sovereign and good!

Evil and suffering. Christianity teaches the existence of an all-powerful, all-good and loving God. But how can that belief be reconciled with the horrors that occur daily? If there is a God, he must be either all-powerful but not good enough to want an end to evil and suffering, or he’s all-good but not powerful enough to bring an end to evil and suffering. Either way the God of the Bible couldn’t exist. For many people, this is not only an intellectual conundrum but also an intensely personal problem. Their own personal lives are marred by tragedy, abuse, and injustice. Brief response: If God himself has suffered our suffering isn’t senseless. First, if you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have to (at the same moment) have a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. (You can’t have it both ways.) Second, though we don’t know the reasons why he allows it to continue, he can’t be indifferent or un-caring, because the Christian God (unlike the gods of all the other religions) takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he is willing to get involved with it himself. On the cross, Jesus suffered with us.[3]

5. God’s wisdom is smarter than us: just because I can’t think of a good reason why God would allow that, does not mean that there is not a perfectly good reason.

6. Wisdom incarnate will come: Matt 12:42- Christ is OUR wisdom – 1 Cor 1:30

7. Let’s summarize: Solomon was the smartest and reminds us there is a Judge – he points us to Christ who IS wisdom, walked perfectly wise for us who believe, and who’s wisdom is above our thinking (i.e. Job). We pursue wisdom for the sole purpose of knowing God and enjoying Him forever!

[1] Material based largely on the sermon series by D.A. Carson, The God Who is There; http://www.monergism.com for mp3 disk

[1] http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org, Pastor Mark Dever’s materials on OT Survey SS Class

[1] Tim Keller, DECONSTRUCTING DEFEATER BELIEFS: Leading the Secular to Christ, article, http://www.redeemer2.com/

Christian Hope and Money – II Cor 8-9, part 7 of 9 in series on Hope, Tim Keller, Redeemer PCA in NYC

The Big Idea: Paul says in this passage that there is a way to use your money to make your lifes story an exciting one not a series of random events.

I. What is the problem with money?

Answer: greed is as bad a sin as adultery but how do you know if you are greedy? It is clear that you know when you are in adultery but do you know if you are greedy? Greed is tricky, especially given that greed is most often in your own blind spot as well!

II. What is the key to the problem?

Answer: live in community in such a way that you identify 3 families that you show your balance sheet and income statement and have them tell you if you have slid to materialism or not. It is different for each person and it is not necessarily a percent or dollar amount that dictates greed. This is tricky and we need community to help us pursue holiness. This is also Pauls message in I Thess 3 as he prays that God cause their love to abound for one another for the purpose of holiness-producing tight community living.

III. What is the power to use the key?

Answer: Christ became poor so that we might become rich, truly rich in currency that matters eternally. Also, see Kellers sermon called An Everlasting Name. Christians get the name of God, united with His Son, and adopted as His very child. This is an everlasting name and the reason for significance that we will never get from money or trampling over people to the top to get more of what does not satisfy. Christians who bank on the gospel have no reason to fight for a legacy in life by making a name for themselves according to Isaiah they have been given a name and are Gods child!

Christian hope and sex – I Cor 6-7, part 6 of 9, part 7 of 9 in series on Hope, Tim Keller, Redeemer PCA in NYC

The Big Idea: Christian hope radically transforms how we think about sex, romance, singleness, and marriage.

I. The Revolutionary view on Sex

Two common views of sex both in Pauls day and in ours: a. sex as appetite it is just a physical thing that I need like hunger for food; b. sex as dirty the body is bad and the spirit is good, sex is just for procreationbut barely.

Today often sex is approached with the attitude that I want to have sex with you but I want to keep my independence I am my own person. However, Paul shows in contrast that the radical view of sex that it is the radical, self-donation and personal transformation and completion process.

After 15 years of marriage to Jodi, I have been transformed through this radical, self-donation process of personal transformation and fulfillment. Now, when I enter a room, for instance, I have a read of all situations through my own experience AND how Jodi would see the room. Because I have not held to my independence, I now see two ways to approach a social setting or a room: where Jodi would start, how she would approach it, what questions she would ask first, and also the approach I have also developed over the years. I now have a whole range of options and wisdom to chose from that were never open to me until I have been transformed by giving my life into her monogamously.

II. The Revolutionary view on singleness

Singles are in no way missing out: After taking such a high view of sex, it is astounding to see Paul then in these verses say that if you dont every experience it, you will live just as a fulfilled life. What? This, again, was radical to Pauls day and ours. In a traditional society, there is no such thing as individual accomplishment or fulfillment. You did will if the family as a whole did well. You only had honor that was ascribed to the family. The main single adults were prostitutes. Singleness was not an option. Now it is! Paul says if you are married, stay married. If you are single, dont pursue hard after marriage you can live fulfilled in this new life either way. Why is that? Point three below

III. How Christian hope reshapes our attitude and approaches

  1. The future ultimate family the church in the overlapping kingdom (i.e. after Christ came the first time and before he comes a second time) is THE family you have regardless of if you have a biological one or not. Mark 10 talks about the kingdom in such a way that if we give up family we have 100 more here in this life and eternal life to come. What?
  2. The future ultimate journey approach marriage as the journey through the gracious gift of life that God has given us according to 1 Peter 3. View your spouse as someone you want to go on the journey with AND figure out everyway possible to help them get there on the journey. Ephesians 5 calls men to do this for their wives, making them more beautify. What are you doing to make your spouse better suited for the journey? Keller relates the story of the man who said his wife has been married to 5 different men in the last 20 years and they have all been him. We all change. Are you helping your spouse adapt to Gods mission for them as the chapters of life change?
  3. The future ultimate lover recognize in marriage that your spouse is only meant to point to Christ not be your functional savior. Verse 15-17 says that Christ is who you were made for. Why did Christ when talking to the woman at the well immediately change from everlasting water to marriage and her 5 husbands? Because He was saying, woman, I am your maker and will satisfy you with water that your failed marriages never delivered. I am your ultimate lover. You cannot have intimacy with God unless you lose your independence. God, in Christ on the cross, lost His independence, in a sense, so that He could have intimacy with us, uniting us to His son.

This is truly a radical view of sex: this is the highest view of purity and satisfaction yet you are not missing out on anything if you remain single; if you get married or not, you get a new family, Christ changes you on the journey, and he becomes your greatest lover!