Where I live, on the cool thumb of the mitten of Wisconsin, we wait for her all year long, grumbling when it is still snowing in early May. But finally she makes her entrance, and like a breath-taking woman late for a date, all is forgiven. This is my world right now:
And when Forget-Me-Nots blanket the earth, I always think of this verse from Hosea 2:13:
“She went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the Lord.
We are not going to forget Him this summer, but help one another stay connected to Him. We need one another for that! I am more than a little excited to do this with YOU, for you are wonderful wise women I’ve come to love and who teach me so much. We’re going to do a series with the help of sermons from Tim Keller on:
They are either hard to understand or hard to swallow. Sometimes both.
Keller compares these hard sayings to hard candy. The way to enjoy hard candy is to savor it slowly, letting it melt in your mouth.
If you hurry and bite down, you just might have to go to the dentist.
So let’s take our time this summer. The passages are very short, but packed, so must be pondered, and yes, savored to get the wonder.
Some sermons will be free, some will cost 2.50, but I promise you, they will be so worth it. If you miss a week traveling, don’t worry. Each week stands alone.
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Our hard saying this week is “I came to set the earth on fire.”
Keller says there is nothing gentle about this text. You’ll feel like you’ve gotten on a horse galloping away. I want to warn you these are hard sayings, and some of it will go over your head, but hold on during this ride, for even if you get just half of it, you will be so blessed.
God Hunt Sunday:
We’ve developed a habit I love here of sharing a way you “spied” God in the last week. It might be an answer to prayer, a passage becoming radioactive, unusual timing or circumstances, or what Brennan Manning called experiencing “the riseness of Christ.”
1.How did you experience God this last week?
Monday: “I Came To Set The Earth on Fire”
Read the hard saying in context in Luke 12:49-53. Ponder.
2. Take your best guess at what Jesus means when He says: “I came to set the world on fire.”
Because these are “hard sayings,” I suggest you take notes while listening instead of multi-tasking. You can listen all at once, and you may find that easier, for it is a little hard to find your place. Still, I’ll be going through the sermon more slowly over the days and will suggest stopping places. So you can either take it in bites or refer back to your notes for your answers.
Today, I’d like you to listen to about 15 minutes — to when Keller is done with Point 1, which has to do with Jesus’ teaching being “self-centered” and therefore divisive. For example, many do not like it that Jesus claims to be the only way to God, and that divides them from true believers who know He is the only way.
Here is the link: https://podcast.gospelinlife.com/e/i-came-to-set-the-earth-on-fire/
3. After listening:
A. How was the teaching of Jesus different from other teachers?
B. What might a date with Jesus be like? Why?
C. He said there are teachers who made claims like Jesus, but what happened to them?
4. What was your favorite or most impactful part? Why?
Tuesday: Why It Matters
Prepare your heart with this.
Of the story that’s been told us
Of the power that will hold us
Of the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters
Why our thinking and creating
Why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
And why it matters
Of this war torn town
And it’s protest of the darkness
And the chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters
The compassion and attention
Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters
How it matters
Many want to make Jesus such a good teacher or a prophet. But He came to set the earth on fire. You can ignore a good teacher or a prophet, but it is so important that you know who Jesus is and let His wisdom and His power rule your heart and every moment of your life.
5. Read Matthew 7:21-23 and explain why what you think of Jesus matters.
A. What has Jesus done for you that makes your life free, meaningful, or hopeful?
B. How will you live today because of who Jesus is to you?
Wednesday: I have a baptism to endure.
7. What does Jesus say in Luke 12:50? What do you think He is talking about? Why is He in agony about it?
8. Read Matthew 3:7-12 and explain, from the text, why the “fire” of Jesus most likely has to do with judgment.
Listen to the 2nd point, beginning around minute 15 to 37.
9. After listening:
A. How does Luke 12:49-50 shatter the idea that Jesus was just a great teacher?
B. What did you learn about the agony of Jesus?
C. Why did Alex Huxley want the universe to be without meaning?
D. When James and John asked for high positions in heaven, what did Jesus tell them?
10. What else stood out to you and why?
Thursday: Why It Matters
Sovereign Grace has new lyrics for Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Here are two of the verses to prepare your heart. I hope you know the tune so you can sing them:
Turn your eyes to the hillside
Where justice and mercy embraced
There the Son of God gave His life for us
And our measureless debt was erased
Turn your eyes to the morning
And see Christ the Lion awake
What a glorious dawn, fear of death is gone
For we carry His life in our veins
11. Read Revelation 6:9-11
A. What do the martyred souls under the altar ask of Jesus?
B. What does He tell them?
12. When you think of what is happening in our world right now, who do you think particularly longs for justice? Do you?
13. Why was Jesus the only One who could satisfy the requirements of justice and bring us mercy?
14. Listen to the end of the sermon (about the last six minutes)
A. Fire will swirl around you in this life, like it swirled around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — but He will be with you in the furnace. How has that been true for you?
B. What else stood out to you and why?.
15. Read Matthew 10:34-39.
A. In what ways has loving Jesus divided you from some you love?
B. How God given you wisdom on the best way to live with this? If so, explain what you should do and what you shouldn’t do.
16. What is your take-a-way and why?