Series: To Fulfill: The Unwavering Promise of God Seen in the Incomparable Person of Jesus
Group Resources December 6, 2015
This Week: Matthew 1:18-25
This week we begin our Christmas series called To Fulfill: The Unwavering Promise of God Seen in the Incomparable Person of Jesus.
REMINDER: We will provide curriculum for Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 before we begin our Christmas break. If you plan on meeting as a group the week of Dec. 20, please use this time as a group fellowship. Lighthouses resume the week of Jan. 10.
This Week’s Resources:
- The Compass Bible Study (pdf)
- Lighthouse Discussion Guide (pdf)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide (pdf)
- Word Search Answer Key (pdf)
Overview of this Lesson
Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain from the creation of the world. When we see the manger of Bethlehem, it is in the shadow of the Cross of Calvary. Jesus came to earth to die. His crucifixion came as no surprise; it had been prophesied from the beginning.
For Mary and Joseph, however, life took an unexpected turn. Mary became pregnant, and Joseph knew the baby was not his. As he agonized over what to do, he had a dream, and unexpected dream that told him how to respond to this unexpected challenge.
As we study this passage of Scripture from Matthew 1 this week, our focus is on Joseph and how he responded in faith and in obedience to the challenge in front of him.
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- Can you share a story of a time in your life when events took an unexpected turn?
- From a human perspective, how do we typically first respond to unexpected challenges or trials?
This Week’s Take Home Truth
God’s sovereign plan can often appear as an unexpected curve ball to us. As we grow in our faith and devotion to the Lord, we learn to follow Him, even into situations that can be personally uncomfortable or challenging.
Read the Text (Matthew 1:18-25)
If we’ve followed God for any length of time, we know to expect difficulties and challenges in life. They are one way He helps us grow (see James 1:2-4). Sometimes God asks us to do things that seem outrageous or extreme, or He leads us into demanding circumstances because He wants to use us in them. But when God unexpectedly asks us to step out in a way that jeopardizes our comfort or our life, we often resist—even when we realize He’s asking us to play a role in His plan. It’s hard to imagine God making any request more unexpected or extreme than what He asked of Joseph & Mary. Read Matthew 1:18-25.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
- Verse 19 gives us some insight into the kind of man Joseph was when it describes him as “a just man and unwilling to put her (Mary) to shame.” As a group, develop a description of Joseph that helps us understand better the challenge that he faced.
- The news of Mary’s pregnancy is both unexpected and upsetting to Joseph. For a glimpse into Mary’s reaction to her pregnancy, read Luke 1:26-38.
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.– Luke 1:26-38
- What is a common reaction for both Mary & Joseph to the news of her pregnancy?
- The Bible tells us both Mary & Joseph accepted the word of the angel concerning her pregnancy. What are the human ramifications of this acceptance?
- What does their response tell us about Joseph & Mary’s faith?
- What can we learn from Joseph & Mary’s response to an unexpected crisis to help guide us in our own walk of faith?
- What difficult, unexpected command of God do you need to obey today?
- How will you respond the next time someone begins to tell you a juicy bit of gossip?
Lighthouse Leader Meeting
Our next Lighthouse Leader meeting is Sunday, Dec. 20 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 202, which is upstairs in the Student Center, first room to the left of the elevator. We will be finished by 10:30 a.m.
- Dec. 6 — To Fulfill: An Unexpected Dream (Matthew 1:18-25)
- Dec. 13 – Kids Christmas Musical (Morning Services)
- Dec. 13 — To Fulfill: An Unexpected King (Matthew 2:1-12)
- Dec. 20 — Begin Christmas Break
- Dec. 21 – Family Movie Matinée, 1:00 pm Student Center
- Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve Service, 5:00 & 6:30 pm.
- Dec. 27 — Christmas Break
- Jan. 3 — Christmas Break
- Jan. 3 – New Series: Shoe-Leather Theology (James)
- Jan. 10 – Lighthouses Resume