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Returning to the Uniform Series

Returning to the Uniform Series

This past year, our ministry has had some growing pains as we have sought the Lord for direction as to how best to serve Him and His children. Our goal, as it should be for any ministry, is to provide you with resources to understand the Scripture (Scripture is the truth referenced in the Truth portion of our name) so that you might have a vital and growing relationship with the God who redeemed you from your sin and unto yourself. Over the course of the last two and a half months, during a recovery from surgery, it became necessary to further dig into what resources we are offering and how we are ministering to you.

One tool which I keep returning to is the material from Standard Lesson, material which makes up part of what is called the Uniform Series. I keep returning to this material because it forces me to remain simple, but not simplistic, and easy to understand. It does this because it is designed to be deployed across the entire spectrum of your church, cradle to grave as it were, so that the entire fellowship is uniform (go figure) in the text being studied for the week.

Picking up with that last thought, I want to explain why I am returning to the Uniform Series and how and why it should be able to help you.

  1. The Uniform Series is designed for use across the entire Church; every grade level discusses the same text for the week and learns good theology while they go. Naturally, it is adaptable based on the level of material so that you are going more in-depth with your high school students or adults than you would with your 1st graders. For some reason, it had never dawned on me, until discussing with a friend back east that his church was doing a series on a particular book but his children were hearing the same stories that they had heard in kindergarten, 1st grade, and now 2nd grade and a realized that a uniformity of text across your church not only ensures that you learn the whole Bible but it also translates into family worship.
  2. The Uniform Series is ideal for family worship. If everyone has studied the same text, you can return to it in your family worship time. You will be able to utilize it to go deeper in your study, exploring related topics or go back and address questions that members of your household have. You’re able to gather your resources and explore the text in whole new ways as the Spirit leads you.
  3. The Uniform Series is used globally. Chances are, at some point during the year you will travel and many churches across the globe follow the parent of the Uniform Series, the International Sunday School Lesson Series. In so doing we are able to ensure that Christians still get a steady diet of the Word of God even if we are travelling.
  4. As a bi-vocational minister, the Uniform Series helps to serve as a set of guiderails from week to week. The lesson plans are laid out a year in advance so that you know exactly what you are teaching on any given Sunday and then it is simply a matter of spending time in preparation.


I also want to address an objection or two…

Objection 1: The Standard Lesson Commentary eliminates the need to do the work of preparing a lesson. Yes and no. There is sufficient material provided so that if a person has never taught a Bible study before, they will be able to step into the role quickly and have sufficient material for a basic understanding of the text. No true pastor would take a pre-packaged lesson and make it his entire sermon but it does make for a solid platform upon which to build a lesson.

Objection 2: The Uniform Series is not used by my denomination. I suppose that could be a problem if your main focus is what is happening at denominational headquarters. IF your main concern is helping your people understand the Word of God, this objection is irrelevant.

Objection 3: We do not use KJV or NIV. Ok. Since you should not be simply opening the annual commentary and reading to your audience, you can adapt the text to your translation of choice, it’s all a matter of doing the appropriate work.

Objection 4 (This is the one I hear most so I am addressing it last): The Uniform series does not go straight through the Bible book by book and verse by verse. Again, yes and no. The Uniform Series does not go directly through a single book in a verse by verse manner. It does cover all 66 books across the six year cycle and you can learn more about that on the Standard Lesson website. There is verse by verse study in each section of the particular book being taught but if you are looking, for example, to pick up 1 Thessalonians and go through every chapter one at a time, this is not the format that you want to use.

Ultimately, the Uniform Series will not be the only lessons offered through our ministry but they will provide a core for us as we grow together.

Until next time, grace to you.

Why 2 Translations

Why 2 Translations

On Sundays, you will always hear the main sermon text in 2 English Translations, one that is essentially literal or word-based and one that is thought for thought or meaning based. I am very frequently aske why we do this.

I use an essentially literal text to be as close to word for word from the original languages as possible. Sometimes we do word studies and these stem from the literal translation. I follow up with a meaning based translation to help us get as close as possible to how the original audience would have heard and understood the text.

The meaning based translation is a critical component of our lesson prep for one major reason: we are looking for Original Authorial Intent; what did the Holy Spirit, by way of the human author, intend to communicate to the audience and what was the expected response? We need to always remember that when we come to a text, a response is expected: repentance, praise, or telling others and a meaning based translation helps us get to that faster.

Ultimately, my goal is two-fold: I want you to understand the text better and I want you to help others understand the text better as well.

Until next time…

Grace to you

Wiersbe Study Bible Review

Wiersbe Study Bible Review


Note: Thomas Nelson provided two copies of the Wiersbe Study Bible, one hardcover and one black leathersoft, free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.


From Thomas Nelson

Dr. Wiersbe’s top-quality Scriptural instruction is now available all in one place with The NKJV Wiersbe Study Bible! Dr. Wiersbe has impacted millions of people with God’s Word through his “Back to the Bible” radio ministry, and insightful “Be Series” commentaries. Now the wealth of Dr. Wiersbe’s solid Biblical guidance is presented as helpful commentary alongside the text of the Bible itself. Grow deeper in your knowledge of God’s Word with The NKJV Wiersbe Study Bible.


Features include:

  • Over 7,800 verse-by-verse notes by Dr. Wiersbe
  • Hundreds of Catalyst notes which more deeply reveal important biblical themes
  • Book introductions featuring Dr. Wiersbe’s historical background, themes, and practical lessons for each book of the Bible
  • Thousands of cross references, showing the connections throughout the Bible
  • Index of Preaching Outlines
  • Concordance with key words for deeper word study
  • Full-color maps
  • Clear and readable 10.5-point NKJV Comfort Print®

Dr. Wiersbe was the former pastor of the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago and general director of the Back to the Bible radio broadcast for 10 years. He was also awarded a Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Product Information

Format: Genuine Leather
Number of Pages: 2272
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 9.50 X 6.50 X 2.25 (inches)
ISBN: 0785221050
ISBN-13: 9780785221050
Series: Comfort Print
Text Color: Red Letter
Text Size: 10 Point
Note Size: 8 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn




The Wiersbe Study Bible is offered in the New King James Version of the Bible, the 1982 update/revision to the King James Version. It is one of three major translations that use the Textus Receptus New Testament. It is one of my two most used translations with over 1000 lessons, personal counseling sessions, and hospital visitations being completed out of the New King James Version. It is fastidiously literal yet still beautiful to read, much like its predecessor. The NKJV is an excellent choice not only for any pulpit but also for Christians at every level of maturity.


Cover and Binding

This Bible is available in three covers, all with a sewn binding: hardcover, leathersoft/imitation leather, and genuine leather. The genuine leather feels like calfskin although it is not specified.


The leathersoft/imitation leather is very convincing and if you did not know it was imitation, you would be certain you were handling real leather.


Paper, Font, and Layout

We are presented with a double column paragraph format. There are no center-column references. Instead, Nelson has borrowed from Crossway and placed the references at the bottom of the 2ndcolumn. Like the Bible text, the notes are in a double column format.


The font is Nelson’s 10.5 Comfort Print in a red-letter edition. Nelson has really stepped up their game on red-letter editions and this one is very crisp, clear, and consistent. Many times you will find a pinkish hue in the “red-letter” edition but you do not have that trouble here.


I find the paper a little thin but the opacity was a pleasant surprise; I was actually expecting more show through than what you really get.



Catalyst Notes:are more in-depth discussions of particular Bible themes and character issues to help you to be transformed by the Scripture.


Be Transformed: This showcases the life transforming impact of particular portions of Scripture.


8,000 Expository Notes: The notes provided give you a basic explanation of the Scripture.


Index of Preaching Outlines: For the person who is new to teaching the Bible, the Index of Preaching Outlines provide a teaching plan for each Bible Book


Introductions and outlines: As is typical, these provide an overview of the book including themes, background, and practical lessons


Who is this Bible’s target audience?

The Wiersbe Study Bible is geared toward two groups primarily: the New Bible Expositor and the New Disciple. For the new expositor, the helps will guide into lesson prep with beginning materials to deep dive into. For the new disciple, the helps will provide a solid overview of the Bible.


Overall Thoughts

The text is a smidge crowded for me but I do like it. Dr. Wiersbe is one of the top Bible teachers of our generation and I love that fact that a whole new generation of Christians will be able to benefit from his teaching.

Colossians Day One

Colossians Day One

Colossians 1 (NLT)

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters[a] in Christ.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf.[b] He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,[c]12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom[d] and forgave our sins.

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[e]
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.[f]
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

Paul’s Work for the Church

24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect[g] in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.


  1. 1:2 Greek faithful brothers.
  2. 1:7 Or he is ministering on your behalf; some manuscripts read he is ministering on our behalf.
  3. 1:11 Or all the patience and endurance you need with joy.
  4. 1:14 Some manuscripts add with his blood.
  5. 1:15 Or He is the firstborn of all creation.
  6. 1:18 Or the firstborn from the dead.
  7. 1:28 Or mature.
Sabbath: the Foundation for Worship

Sabbath: the Foundation for Worship

Exodus 20:8-11

8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

When talking about worship we frequently hear sermons on who we worship, how we worship, and why we worship but I cannot tell you the last time I heard a sermon on the Sabbath. We are going to talk about the Sabbath as being integral to worship but I am not going to be proscriptive as to whether the Sabbath is Saturday or Sunday (Romans 14); we will discuss why before our time together concludes.

What is the Sabbath?

Literally, the Sabbath is the seventh and in the case of days of the week, it is the 7th day. On our calendar this would, typically be Saturday as the week would begin on Sunday. However, According to international standard ISO 8601, Monday is the first day of the week. It is followed by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday is the 7th and final day and Although this is the international standard, several countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia consider Sunday as the start of the week.

How did the Sabbath get started?

The principle of a Sabbath rest goes all the way back to the dawn of time as we know it. It was instituted by God Himself. Look at Genesis 2:2, “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.”

I want to be careful, here, to point out that God did not rest because He was somehow tired or depleted; that is an entirely human concept and struggle. If you will look at the account of creation in Genesis one we see over and over again, “and God saw that it was good.” The creation that God had made was good and I want you to understand that this does not simply mean that it was high quality, even though it was; when God saw that it was good, He saw that it was pleasing/delightful/enjoyable. So when God rested, He was pausing to enjoy that which He created.

What is the Sabbath’s Purpose?

There are 3 things I want you to think about when it comes to the Sabbath:

  1. It is a time to cease laboring/striving and to have fellowship.
  2. A day of rest gives our body time to replenish
  3. The Sabbath is a sign of the coming age when we will be in perfect communion with God.

Cease laboring/striving and have fellowship.

As Baptists, we tend to think of the “fellowship” time as involving food and while that is certainly a legitimate component of fellowship, the overall point of the fellowship time is to cultivate a relationship. In this case we are cultivating a relationship with God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

  • Knowledge of God in Christ should be our greatest delight ( 9:23–24; 1 Cor. 2:2; Gal. 6:14).
  • Knowing God is the basis of attaining eternal life (John 17:3); it is at the heart of life in the new covenant ( 8:11–12);
  • Paul’s primary goal was to know God and we follow Paul’s example ( 3:10);
  • Knowing God and resting in Him leads to godly love (1 John 4:7–8).

God will never be known absolutely, but we can know things about him that are absolutely true, so much so that we can be willing to live and die for those beliefs. God has provided knowledge of himself that is personal, relational, and sufficient for fruitful, faithful, godly living. No one will ever be able to say he lacked the necessary revelation to know God and to start living as God intends.

The importance of relationship with God is, perhaps, never more clear than in Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus points out that there are some who think that they have a relationship with God but really do not. They have the illusion of a relationship, so to speak.

A Sabbath gives us time to replenish

By design, the human body can only do so much and then it must rest; this is most evident in our sleep cycle. There are hormones, neurotransmitters, amino acids, etc which are critical to the normal functioning of our body that can be depleted. When these are depleted the body ceases to function in its normal way and various types of illness set in. One of the most common of these illnesses is clinical depression which many doctors now think is linked to a loss of serotonin, one of the most important and powerful neurotransmitters in our body. One doctor I spoke with told me that it can take about 30 hours for the body to replenish its natural supply of serotonin…

It is interesting to note that 4000 years ago, God proscribed a time of rest that we now know is not only essential to our spiritual well being but to our physical as well.  In fact proper rest is so important that the following symptoms/behaviors let us know our body is not resting properly:

  • yawning
  • moodiness
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty learning new concepts
  • forgetfulness
  • inability to concentrate or a “fuzzy” head
  • lack of motivation
  • clumsiness
  • increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings


You might be asking yourself, “what does physical rest have to do with worship?”  Let me tell you that worship is not simply giving God praise or listening to a sermon etc. The whole of worship is developing that relationship with God wherein He knows us intimately and we know Him as intimately as is possible for a finite human being.

The Sabbath is a sign of communion yet to come.

Before the fall, man walked with God in the cool of the evening (Genesis 3:8). Now the Bible is not clear as to how God walked in the garden or what it looked like when Adam and Eve walked with Him but we are able to know that since the man and woman hid from the presence of the LORD, at one point there was fellowship that had been broken by sin. Where God was once coming in enjoyment and pleasure, at that moment he was coming in judgment.

Since the day of the first sin, fellowship with God has been impaired, even broken. We do not have the same relationship with the Lord that we once had but we will have it once more.

You will hear people say that someone has “entered into eternal rest” and you may have even asked yourself what that means. It means that the believer in Christ has entered into a perpetual Sabbath, forever in God’s presence and delighting in Him. Revelation 22:1-5 gives us a picture of what that eternal rest will look like. YHWH will be our God and we will be His people and we will fellowship with Him forever.

How do we keep the Sabbath holy?

This is a very important question since reverencing the Sabbath is commanded in the Scripture. Honoring the Sabbath by keeping it holy is, as far as I can tell, the most challenging commandment for us to keep as we try to keep afloat in the sea of paganism that we call western culture. We Baptists love lists so I am going to give you three words to keep in ming when considering the Sabbath:

  • Recognize
  • Gather
  • Minister


Recognize that you need a Sabbath. It is critical to both your Spiritual and physical well being that you take a time to rest. You cannot, properly, commune with God from a state of exhaustion. To fully commune with God, you need a time of replenishment; being able to commune with the God of Heaven and Earth is an enjoyment not a burden.


Hebrews 10:25 reminds us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together for this very reason: corporate worship tends to be very refreshing to our souls. Gathering together to sing praises, to hear how God is working in the lives of other believers, to come to the Communion Table, and so on brings a delight to the soul of the believer.


A natural outflow of our fellowship with God is that there will be opportunities to minister, both to Him and to others. The verb minister means to attend to someone specifically with regard to their needs. But if God needs nothing, how do we then minister to Him? We minister to God by being attentive to His commands/precepts/principles and by leading others to Him to be redeemed by the Lord.

Is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday?


Some people are very rigid that the Sabbath is Saturday, others are insistent that it is Sunday. Both miss the point. The Sabbath is a person, God Himself. God is our source of everything, including our rests and our delights. When we take a Sabbath, we are taking time to be with Him and in His presence where there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

Whether you observe Saturday or Sunday is less important than whether or not you are taking the time to rest in God’s presence and to fellowship with Him. Without getting into a whole other sermon, when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees regarding the Sabbath, He was not rebuking them for not being fastidious in keeping it; He rebuked them for missing the point entirely, to be with God and delight in Him, knowing and being fully known.

Lastly, when Jesus said the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, He was not simply implying that He has authority over the Sabbath. Instead, the message was, “the Son of Man is, in fact, the very God who gives you the Sabbath in the first place.” When you delight in the Sabbath, you are delighting in Jesus and when you are delighting in Jesus you are then worshipping fully because your worship stems from your love for Him and your pleasure in being His.

“Bad Girls in the Line of the Redeemer”

“Bad Girls in the Line of the Redeemer”

When you hear a sermon on the last Sunday of Advent, you don’t usually hear a sermon on the genealogy of Jesus and even more rarely do you hear a lesson on the women in the genealogy which is sad because their inclusion is absolutely brilliant and is a perfect illustration of why Christ’s Advent occurred in the first place-to redeem a people, perhaps even a people that you and I would never expect, unto Himself and to glorify God the Father in their redeeming.

Matthew opens his Gospel with the Family Tree of Jesus and he does so to demonstrate 3 critical facts:

  1. Though Jesus was, in fact, God the Son, He was also a flesh and blood human being.
  2. Matthew illustrates that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah, the Divine King who would rule Israel, and even the nations, forever. Matthew proves his claim by providing the patrilineal genealogy of Jesus.
  3. Jesus has power to save the whole world. Matthew, conspicuously, includes gentiles in the lineage of Jesus thereby showing that Messiah, in His first advent, has come to redeem from the whole of the world.

I want to give you a thought to keep in mind as we go: In the days of Jesus, the Oral Tradition was very important and a recitation of a genealogy would call to mind the stories of the individuals listed and would serve as a record of God’s Grace.

Tamar… Rahab… Ruth… her who had been the wife of Uriah: This genealogy is noted for the unusual presence of four women. Women were rarely mentioned in ancient genealogies, and the four mentioned here are worthy of special note as examples of God’s grace. They show how God can take unlikely people and use them in great ways.

Tamar: She sold herself as a prostitute to her father-in-law Judah to bring forth Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38).

Rahab: She was a Gentile prostitute, for whom God took extraordinary measures to save from both judgment and her lifestyle of prostitution (Joshua 2; 6:22-23).

Ruth: She was from Moab, a Gentile, and until her conversion out of the covenant of Israel (Ruth 1).

Her who had been the wife of Uriah: Bathsheba (who is mentioned by implication in Matthew 1:6) was an adulteress, infamous for her sin with David (2 Samuel 11).

“Matthew’s peculiar way of referring to her, ‘Uriah’s wife,’ may be an attempt to focus on the fact that Uriah was not an Israelite but a Hittite.” (Carson)

These women have an important place in the genealogy of Jesus to demonstrate that Jesus identifies with sinners in His genealogy, even as He will in His birth, baptism, life, and His death on the cross. “Jesus is heir of a line in which flows the blood of the harlot Rahab, and of the rustic Ruth; he is akin to the fallen and to the lowly, and he will show his love even to the poorest and most obscure.” (Spurgeon)

These women have an important place in the genealogy of Jesus to show that there is a new place for women under the New Covenant. In both the pagan and the Jewish culture of that day, men often had little regard for women. In that era, some Jewish men prayed every morning thanking God that they were not Gentiles, slaves or women. Despite that, women were regarded more highly among the Jews than they were among the pagans.

“By far the most amazing thing about this pedigree is the names of the women who appear in it.” (Barclay)

“Men and women, notorious for their evil character, lie in the direct line of his descen. This was permitted, that He might fully represent our fallen race.” (Meyer)

So let’s look at the notorious women that no one would expect to be in the line of Messiah the King

SARAH: Laughing all the way to redemption (Genesis 18:9-15)

Why is Sarah so important? She is the mother of the people of Israel and it is from Israel that we receive Messiah the King. Sarah, then is “mother” of the Redeemer.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Was intensely loyal to her own child
  • Became the mother of a nation and an ancestor of Jesus
  • Was a woman of faith, the first woman listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11

Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Had trouble believing God’s promises to her
  • Attempted to work problems out on her own, without consulting God
  • Tried to cover her faults by blaming others

Lessons from her life

  • God responds to faith even in the midst of failure
  • God is not bound by what usually happens; he can stretch the limits and cause unheard-of events to occur

Key verse

“It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise” (Hebrews 11:11).

Sarah’s story unfolds in Genesis 11—25. She is also mentioned in Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:19; 9:9; Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 3:6.

TAMAR: Holding the Line

Genesis 38:1-30

Why is Tamar important to the Old Testament? Tamar held fast the line of Judah by forcing him to father an heir for her and, it is this line that leads to Jesus.

Fast Facts:

  • Widowed by Er, Judah’s 1st born son.
  • Widowed a 2nd time by Onan, Judah’s 2nd son, who was struck dead by God for refusing to consummate the marriage with Tamar.
  • Pretended to be a prostitute to trick Judah into fathering an heir for her.

Life lessons:

  • Even when a person refuses to obey, God’s plans cannot be thwarted.
  • Though wicked deeds are not encouraged, they can be redeemed for God’s glory


RAHAB: A prodigal daughter comes home (Joshua 6:22-23)

Why is Rahab so important? Rahab kept the 12 spies safe as they scouted the promised land. She fathered Boaz, the kinsman redeemer who plays a major role in the life of Ruth and also gives a picture of redemption.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Relative of Boaz, and thus an ancestor of David and Jesus
  • One of only two women listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11
  • Resourceful, willing to help others at great cost to herself

Weakness and mistake

  • She was a prostitute

Lesson from her life

  • She did not let fear affect her faith in God’s ability to deliver

Key verse

“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies” (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s story unfolds in Joshua 2 and 6:22, 23. She is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; and James 2:25.


RUTH: Foretelling the gathering gentiles (Ruth 1:6–4:16)

Why is Ruth important? Ruth was from Moab making her a gentile. Her story foretells that Messiah the King will redeem from the whole world.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • A relationship where the greatest bond was faith in God
  • A relationship of strong mutual commitment
  • A relationship in which each person tried to do what was best for the other

Life Lessons from Ruth

  • God’s living presence in a relationship overcomes differences that might otherwise create division and disharmony

Key verses

“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!’ ” (Ruth 1:16, 17).

Ruth’s Story unfolds in the book that bears her name. Ruth is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5.

BATHSHEBA: the Mistress who became queen (2 Samuel 11:2-5; 1 Kings 1:11-53; 2:13-25)

Why is Bathsheba important? Bathsheba was consort and later wife to David, Israel’s most important King, David, who gives Messiah his right to rule. Bathsheba is the mother of the Royal line of Messiah the King.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Became influential in the palace alongside her son Solomon
  • Was the mother of Israel’s wisest king and an ancestor of Jesus Christ

Weakness and mistake

  • Committed adultery
  • Lost her son through divine judgment

Lessons from her life

  • Although we may feel caught up in a chain of events, we are still responsible for the way we participate in those events
  • A sin may seem like one small seed, but the harvest of consequences is beyond measure
  • In the worst possible situations, God is still able to bring about good when people truly turn to him
  • While we must live with the natural consequences of our sins, God’s forgiveness of sin is complete

Key verses

“When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done” (2 Samuel 11:26, 27).

Bathsheba’s story unfolds in 2 Samuel 11—12 and 1 Kings 1—2. A related passage is Psalm 51.



Christ’s first advent is the story of the Redeemer and His second will be the story of the Righteous Judge. As John MacArthur points out, “each of these women’s lives is an object lesson in the outworking of Divine Grace.”


I have a few things for you to keep in mind as we close out the Advent Season:

  1. We have all sinned and we all need the grace that Christ’s first advent brought.
  2. Jesus, being truly God and truly man can identify will all our temptations and can redeem us from our sin.
  3. No matter how terrible or plentiful that your sins may be, you can still come to Jesus. I am reminded of the invitation of George Whitefield…


Come then unto Christ every one that hears me this night; I offer Jesus Christ, pardon, and salvation to all you, who will accept thereof. Come, O ye drunkards, lay aside your cups, drink no more to excess; come and drink of the water which Christ will give you, and then you will thirst no more: come, O ye thieves; let him that has stolen, steal no more, but fly unto Christ and he will receive you. Come unto him, O ye harlots; lay aside your lusts and turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon you, he will cleanse you of all your sins, and wash you in his blood. Come, all ye liars; come, all ye Pharisees; come, all ye fornicators, adulterers, swearers, and blasphemers, come to Christ, and he will take away all your filth, he will cleanse you from your pollution, and your sins shall be done away. Come, come, my guilty brethren; I beseech you for Christ’s sake, and for your immortal soul’s sake, to come unto Christ: Do not let me knock at the door of your hearts in vain, but open and let the King of Glory in, and he will dwell with you, he will come and sup with you this night; this hour, this moment he is ready to receive you, therefore come unto him.


To be absolutely sure… The message of Advent is this: Jesus came to redeem sinners and He receives all who come to Him. You can come; Jesus will never turn any who will bow to His Lordship. This Advent Season bow your knee to Christ. You will never be the same.

A Righteous Branch From David’s Royal Family

A Righteous Branch From David’s Royal Family

Isaiah 11:1-16

This chapter is a prophetic picture of the glory of the future kingdom, which will be set up when David’s Son returns in glory

“The stump of Jesse” (11:1).

‘Jesse’ was King David’s father; the ‘shoot… out of the stump of Jesse’ is a king from David’s dynasty. The imagery of the previous section continues here, linking the second and third sections of the poem. Whereas the high trees representing Assyria’s imperial haughtiness will be cut down to size (10.33-34), real strength will emerge from the lowest part–the ‘stock’ (lit. “roots”)–of the humble tree representing David’s dynasty. Isaiah’s insistence on humility and displeasure with human conceit determine the contrast between the images of trees in 11.1 and 10.33-34; If the translation ‘stump’ is correct, then this passage may presume that the Davidic dynasty will (or has) come to an end; this reading would deviate significantly from Isaiah’s notion that Davidic kings will reign eternally (2 Samuel 7.8-16; Psalm 89.20-37). But the Hebrew “geza'” refers not only to a ‘stump’ of a tree that has been cut down but also to the trunk of a living tree. The latter translation does not presuppose the dynasty’s downfall.

Indeed,  trunk is a better choice here as the Messiah will be the king from David’s line who will rule eternally.

The Sprit of the Lord and the Messianic King (11:2)

“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him: The Branch that comes from the apparently dead stump isn’t just barely alive. It is full of life, and full of the Spirit of the LORD. The Messiah has seven – the number of fullness and completion – aspects of the Spirit of the LORD.


  1. He has the Spirit of the LORD. It is not a false spirit or a deceiving spirit or even the spirit of a man. The Spirit of the LORD God of Israel rests upon the Messiah. Once Jesus rebuked the disciples saying, You do not know what manner of spirit you are of (Luke 9:55). Jesus was of the Spirit of the LORD, and He knew it.


  1. The Spirit of wisdom is upon the Messiah. Jesus is perfectly wise in all things. He showed it among us during his earthly ministry, and He shows it now in His ministry towards us in heaven. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Jesus became for us wisdom from God. It isn’t just that Jesus has wisdom; He is wisdom!


  1. The Spirit of… understanding is upon Him. Jesus understands all things, and He understands us perfectly. He is perfectly suited to be our sympathetic High Priest in heaven (Hebrews 4:15-16). Understanding in Hebrew has the idea of a sharp sense of smell. Trapp says it describes Jesus’ “Sharpness of judgment in smelling out a hypocrite… His sharp nose easily discerneth and is offended with the stinking breath of the hypocrite’s rotten lungs, though his words be never so scented and perfumed with shows of holiness.”


  1. The Spirit of counsel is upon Jesus. He has perfect counsel to give us at all times. He has both the wisdom and the understanding to be a perfect counselor!


  1. The Spirit of… might is upon Jesus. He has the power to do what He desires to do. Many would help us if they could, but are powerless. Others may have the power to help us, but don’t care about us. Jesus has both the love and the might to help us.
  2. The Spirit of knowledge is upon Jesus. He knows everything. He knows our hearts, He knows all the facts. Many times we have made decisions that seemed strange or wrong to others because they didn’t have the knowledge that we have. Jesus has knowledge that we don’t have, so it shouldn’t surprise us that sometimes His decisions seem strange or wrong to others.
  3. The Spirit of… the fear of the LORDis upon Jesus. He willingly kept Himself in a place of submission, respect, and honor to God the Father.” ~ Guzik

This passage is behind the term the sevenfold Spirit of God used in Revelation 1:4, 3:, 4:5 and 5:6. It isn’t that there are seven different spirits of God, rather the Spirit of the LORD has these characteristics, and He has them all in fullness and perfection.


The Spirit of the LORD: These seven characteristics describe the nature of the Spirit of the LORD. They also describe the nature of Jesus. There is no difference between the nature of Jesus and the nature of the Holy Spirit. When we see Jesus, we see the Father (John 14:9). When we see the Spirit of the LORD at work, it should look like the ministry and the nature of Jesus.


Many people in the Bible were filled with the Spirit to do great things.

  • Joseph: Genesis 41:38-39
  • Bezaleel (craftsman): Exodus 35:31
  • Eldad and Medad (prophesy): Numbers 11:26-30
  • Balaam: Numbers 24:2
  • Othniel: Judges 3:10
  • Gideon: Judges 6:34
  • Jephthah: Judges 11:29
  • Samson: Judges 13:25; 14:6,19; 15:14
  • Saul: 1 Samuel 10:5-6,10; 11:6
  • David: 1 Samuel 16:13
  • Saul’s messengers: 1 Samuel 19:20
  • Elisha: 2 Kings 3:15
  • Amasai (chief captain): 1 Chronicles 12:18
  • Azariah (prophet): 2 Chronicles 15:1
  • Jahaziel: 2 Chronicles 20:14
  • Zechariah: 2 Chronicles 24:20
  • Christ: Isaiah 11:2
  • Ezekiel: Ezekiel 2:2
  • Mary: Luke 1:35
  • Elisabeth: Luke 1:41
  • Zacharias: Luke 1:67
  • New Christians: Acts 2:4; 10:44
  • Stephen: Acts 7:55
  • Philip: Acts 8:39
  • Peter: Acts 10:19
  • Ephesian Christians: Acts 19:6


How Messiah judges (11:3-5).

The traditional ideal of royal justice involved extraordinary judicial insight (1 Kings 3.4–28) and harsh justice on oppressors (Psalms 72; 101)

The theme of motive introduced in 10:7-11 is amplified here to include the totality of actions and intent. As God, the Messiah knows reality perfectly, so He is able to judge “with righteousness.” His decisions, so unlike the decisions of human government that weigh a person’s wealth or social standing, will be “for the poor of the earth.”

The fact that His judgment will be enforced absolutely is expressed in the image of striking the earth “with the rod of His mouth.”

Acting as God’s representative, the Messiah will execute judgment on the wicked and the oppressors and will offer God’s protection and blessing upon the righteous, who are lowly and humble

The Kingdom to Come (11:6-9).  A description of the Messianic kingdom. Some interpreters take these conditions to be literal, describing those that will actually exist in the new heaven and the new earth (65:17-25); this would be the position that we hold as Dispensationalist. This would involve a radical change in the natures of the animals involved. This picture of cruel beasts regenerated with a new nature that makes them protect their natural prey portrays a reign of peace and security. This can only be realized in the return of the Messiah to establish the kingdom of God (65:17 – 25; Rev 21:1 – 8).

The point is that of v. 9: where the Messiah rules, where “the knowledge of the Lord” prevails, there will be no place for violence or destruction. Precisely how that is to be realized must be left to the imagination; it will be utterly different from anything citizens of the present fallen creation know. It may now be realized person by person, but one day it will be universal.

“A banner for the peoples” (11:10-12).

For the Gentiles will seek Him: Literally this says Ha’Goyim (the Nations) will seek Him.  The glory of the reign of the Messiah will be not only for the Jew, but for the Gentile also. He shall stand as a banner to the people, lifted high to draw all peoples to Him. We have begun to see this is the church age and it will culminate in the Millennial Kingdom when all the saved from all tongues and tribes come to attend the Messiah and worship before His Throne.


Side note: The banner was used before to call the nations to judgment against Israel (Isaiah 5:26). Now the banner calls the nations to the blessings of the Messiah.

The second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left: In the reign of the Messiah, there will be another Exodus of the Jewish people, delivering them not only from Egypt, but from all nations where they have been dispersed. In this final Exodus and return to the Promised Land, all of Israel (that is, the righteous remnant) will be restored, forever to be God’s people and the delight of His heart.

Perfect Peace in the Kingdom (13-16)

Nations that have constantly harassed God’s people have finally met their judgment. Jesus will righteously judge and recompense the nations. They will turn their weapons into farming equipment. “Neither shall they learn war anymore (2:4)

At last the end of war, which has plagued man since the fall is ended. War along with its master, Death, has no place in the everlasting kingdom. In Adam’s fall we were denied Eden, in Messiah’s perfect reign, a paradise better than Eden is given us. Messiah the King will be our God and we will be His people and we shall enjoy Him forever.