Breaking Open the Scriptures
Scriptures for January 16th: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42. Theme: What does it mean to be called by God? song: Great is Thy Faithfulness
Isaiah: In the lesson two weeks ago, the Israelites were told to “arise and shine, your light has come.” In other words, they should not despair in the rebuilding of their old lives. The whole world is watching; and want they to be next to the light of God too. Now they have to think about what it means to be a light to the world. What are the Implications, how will they have to change? How will they have to tolerate others. Last week we learned about the servant – the one called by God to make everyone else’s life better. Today we need to think about what it means to be called and set apart by God? If God loves me does that mean that my life needs to change? Probably. If God loves me and makes me special does that mean that I am better than others? Probably not. We who are called (we are all called by virtue of our baptism) – have a responsibility to love others in spite of ourselves.
1 Corinthians : We will be studying Corinthians for the next eight weeks. Our focus will be on what it means to be called by God, as individuals and as a church. This week we start with the introduction and greeting of the letter of Paul. Paul blesses the congregation and gives them grace and thanks. But reminds them and us that God is always faithful to us no matter what, being called means being faithful to God. Paul is mentioning the spiritual strengths of the people he is writing to: they are faithful, not just with their mouths, but with their actions.
Questions: If we are known by the words that we speak, what can others say about us? It is possible to be a failure in the world and a success in God- How are you a servant of God? How to do reach out to help others? When things are going bad for you, where do you find your strength? If Paul was writing a letter to this church, what would he list as the strengths? What concerns would he need to address to encourage us?