The Preparation – God’s Touch Felt

The Preparation. God’s Touch Felt.
Matthew 1:18-25 / Luke 1:39-56

  1. Trust the promise (Matthew 1:18-25).
    1. The Promise made known: God’s Word, God’s Way, God’s Work
    2. The Promise applied:
      1. Generally: “all of this took place to fulfill what was spoken” (Matthew 1:22)
      2. Respectively: “she will give birth to a son and you are to name Him Jesus” (Matthew 1:21, 23)
  2. Take joy in the promise (Luke 1:39-56)
    1. The significance of your joy builds upon the superiority of Jesus in your life. (Luke 1:39-45)
    2. The content of your joy builds upon a detail reflection of the promise. (Luke 1:46-55)

Questions for Further Discussion:

Matthew 1:18-25

  1. What are the tabloid headlines this week?
  2. Why is our society so drawn to gossip and scandal?
  3. How do people typically react when facing embarrassing situations?
  4. What happened to Mary while she and Joseph were engaged? (Matthew 1:18)
  5. What do you think Joseph initially thought upon hearing this news about his bride-to-be? (Matthew 1:18-19)
  6. What positive character qualities did Joseph possess? (Matthew 1:19)
  7. How did Joseph plan to handle this delicate situation? (Matthew 1:19)
  8. How was Joseph’s ancestry significant? (Matthew 1:20)
  9. Why did Joseph change his plans to divorce Mary? (Matthew 1:20)
  10. If Joseph wasn’t the actual father of Christ, who was? (Matthew 1:18, 20)
  11. What did the angel command Joseph to name the child and why? (Matthew 1:21)
  12. What significant mission in life would Mary’s child have? (Matthew 1:21)
  13. Why is Mary’s virginal conception of Christ significant? (Matthew 1:22-23)
  14. What does Immanuel mean? (Matthew 1:23)
  15. How did Joseph respond to the angelic message? (Matthew 1:24)
  16. How might you have responded in Mary’s situation?
  17. What would have been your reaction had you been in Joseph’s situation?
  18. How do you think a typical church might have handled Mary’s pre-marriage pregnancy? How about our church?
  19. How do you imagine the “grapevine” treated the Mary-Joseph situation?
  20. How does it feel to be the victim of unsubstantiated rumors and gossip?
  21. How does it feel to know that you are innocent and yet have people attacking your character and whispering behind your back?
  22. How does our desire for approval or acceptance keep us from doing the right thing?
  23. What difficult, hard-to-swallow command of God do you need to obey today?
  24. How will you respond the next time someone begins to tell you a juicy bit of gossip?

Luke 1:39-56

  1. In what ways could we describe both Mary and Elizabeth as “blessed” women?
  2. How did Elizabeth indicate that she knew what her and Mary’s pregnancies meant?
  3. How would you describe the mood in Zechariah’s home during the time Mary visited?
  4. Judging from Elizabeth’s experience, what is it like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
  5. How does it feel to be genuinely complimented by someone older than you?
  6. What significance do you think it had for Mary that Elizabeth knew the importance of Mary’s baby?
  7. What words best describe Mary’s attitude?
  8. What reasons can we give for calling Mary a woman blessed by God?
  9. What evidence do we have today that God is still keeping His promises?
  10. How can we illustrate God’s “bringing down rulers and lifting up the humble” today?
  11. What different methods have you used to tell others your experiences with God?
  12. What actions of God which Mary mentioned have you observed or experienced?
  13. How does God show mercy to us today?
  14. In what way can you glorify the Lord and rejoice in your Savior this week?
  15. What person close to you still needs to hear you express your faith?

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard
Luke 1:26-38 (Week Two of Advent)

  1. God manifested His work in Mary so that Jesus Christ would be manifested to the World. (Luke 1:26-29)
  2. Mary encountered a crisis of fact and faith that only the truth of Jesus could resolve. (Luke 1:34)
  3. The Holy Spirit made the Purpose of Christ reality. (Luke 1:35)
  4. The reality of Christ caused worshipful obedience (Luke 1:36-38)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. When was an occasion that you received an unexpected honor?
  2. How do you tend to react when you receive unexpected good news?
  3. Who greeted Mary? Why? (Luke 1:26-28)
  4. How did Mary learn of her role in Jesus’ birth? (Luke 1:26-28)
  5. How did Mary feel when the angel appeared to her? (Luke 1:29-30)
  6. How did Gabriel describe the child that would be born to Mary? (Luke 1:31-33)
  7. What title would Jesus have? (Luke 1:32)
  8. What Old Testament personalities were part of Jesus’ royal line? (Luke 1:32-33)
  9. Why wasn’t Mary struck dumb by the angel as Zechariah was? (Luke 1:34)
  10. How did Mary’s response to the angel differ from Zechariah’s? (Luke 1:34, 38)
  11. Why did Gabriel mention Elizabeth’s pregnancy to Mary? (Luke 1:36-37)
  12. What kind of attitude was apparent in Mary’s response to the angel’s visit? (Luke 1:38)
  13. What did Mary’s final statement to Gabriel show about her relationship with God? (Luke 1:38)
  14. What do Mary’s responses to Gabriel tell us about the kind of people through whom God works?
  15. In what different ways do people respond to the story of Christ’s birth?
  16. What difference does it make whether or not a person believes that the child born to Mary was really the Son of God?
  17. How has the fact that “with God, nothing is impossible” taken root in your life?
  18. In what ways would you say Mary’s responses to Gabriel summarize what our relationship with God ought to be like?
  19. What “impossibilities” in your life do you want to thank God for this week?
  20. What can you do to maintain a servant’s attitude as you live from day to day?
  21. In what ways can you develop the kind of humble spirit that Mary had?

The Story – God’s Plan Revealed

December 3
The Story. God’s Plan Revealed
Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

  • The Story: from brokenness to redemption (Isaiah 9:1)
  • The Hope: divinely planned and forever assured (Isaiah 9:2)
  • The Person: a Light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What positive associations do you have with light?
  2. Although he had been preaching God’s judgment (particularly on the kingdom of Israel), what
    total reversal did Isaiah foresee in the future? (Isaiah 9:1)
  3. What contrasting images did Isaiah use to set the scene of his prophecy? (Isaiah 9:2)
  4. To what situations did Isaiah compare the joy that will be Israel’s? (Isaiah 9:3)
  5. What did Isaiah predict God would do for Israel, causing her to rejoice? (Isaiah 9:4-5)
  6. How does Isaiah describe the Ruler who will be provided by God for His people? (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  7. What attributes of God are apparent in this passage?
  8. How is God’s promise of the coming child an answer to His anger over our sin?
  9. How would you explain the Light that came into your darkness?
    Why might it be dangerous to downplay the seriousness of our situation whenever we encounter hardship?
  10. What specific injustice in your area of influence can you challenge in the name of God? How?
  11. What person do you know who is still “walking in darkness” for whom God would have you
    pray?