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Deuteronomy 30:15-19 1
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

clip_image168Background 2

The Book of Deuteronomy repeats much of the history and of the laws contained in the three foregoing books: Moses delivered it to Israel a little before his death, both by word of mouth, that it might affect, and by writing, that it might abide. The men of that generation to which the law was first given were all dead, and a new generation was sprung up, to whom God would have it repeated by Moses himself, now they were going to possess the land of Canaan. The wonderful love of God to his church is set forth in this book; how he ever preserved his church for his own mercies sake, and would still have his name called upon among them. Such are the general outlines of this book, the whole of which shows Moses’ love for Israel, and marks him an eminent type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us apply the exhortations and persuasions to our own consciences, to excite our minds to a believing, grateful obedience to the commands of God.

Biblical Truths 3

What could be said more moving, and more likely to make deep and lasting impressions? Every man wishes to obtain life and good, and to escape death and evil; he desires happiness, and dreads misery. So great is the compassion of the Lord, that he has favored men, by his word, with such a knowledge of good and evil as will make them forever happy, if it be not their own fault. Let us hear the sum of the whole matter. If they and theirs would love God, and serve him, they should live and be happy. If they or theirs should turn from God, desert his service, and worship other gods, that would certainly be their ruin. There never was, since the fall of man, more than one way to heaven; which is marked out in both Testaments, though not with equal clearness. Moses meant that same way of acceptance, which Paul more plainly described; and Paul’s words mean the same obedience, on which Moses more fully treated. In both Testaments the good and right way is brought near, and plainly revealed to us.

Items for Discussion

  • The pursuit of everlasting life seems like everyone would search for the knowledge of how to achieve it – Why do you think so few have a plan?
  • God provides a vision of two paths or choices: what is required to walk each one?
  • What in our knowledge of history validates these verses?
  • Is there any middle ground being offered to mankind? Then why do you think mankind pursues a middle ground (a negotiated faith with God) if none is offered?
  • Is it as simple as a choice?

 

John 15:13
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Background 4

John’s gospel is telling the good news of our salvation from sin by Jesus Christ. This gospel is different from the other three. It does not tell us so many of the events of Jesus’ life. For example, it does not tell of his birth. John wants to tell us more than the story of Jesus’ life; he tries to explain the meaning behind the things that Jesus said and did. He tells us who Jesus Christ is rather than what he does. John wrote about the great mystery – that Jesus is God as well as a man.

John wrote his gospel for believers in the early churches. These churches were in the countries of Greece and Asia. He wanted to help them to develop in their Christian lives. He wanted to show them why they should look at Jesus. They would discover what God the Father is like. Jesus is the one who shows the glory and greatness of God to the world. God shows his glory through his Son. He is a man born of a woman. He lives among His people today.

The salvation that Jesus obtained for us at the cross means that we can have God’s life now, while we are alive. Moreover, we can have it for all time in heaven after we die.

Bible Truths 5

Life is the most valuable object we possess; and when a man is willing to lay that down for his friends or his country, it shows the utmost extent of love. Even this love for friends has been rarely witnessed. A very few cases have occurred where a man was willing to save the life of his friend by giving his own. It greatly enhances the love of Christ, that while the instances of those who have been willing to die for friends have been so rare, he was willing to die for enemies, bitter foes, who rejected his reign, persecuted him, reviled him, scorned him, and sought his life, (1 John 4:10; Revelation 5:6,10). It also shows us the extent of his love that he gave himself up, not to common sufferings, but to the most bitter, painful, and protracted sorrows, not for himself, not for friends, but for a thoughtless and unbelieving world.

Items for Discussion

  • If Christ had not died, what would Christianity be missing?
  • If Christ had not suffered what would Christianity be missing?
  • If Christ had not lived (risen) what would Christianity be missing?
  • What motives bring people to church during the Easter season?
  • Is this a problem or an opportunity? Explain
  • The world tries to remove Christ from Easter – can this ever be done?
  • What opportunities do we have during Holy Week to serve God?

Discussion Challenge

  • How should a congregation respond to the influx of people during a holy season?
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