From Pastor Brady

Greetings Church,

This week we launched into our Advent sermon series, What Child Is This? Over the course of the next few weeks we will explore both Old Testament and New Testament scriptures that reveal how God planned to save the world through a child.

Read Genesis 3.

1. The Crisis.

Re-read Genesis 3:4-5. In the sermon we noted that are main crisis as humanity is sin- the desire for self- sufficiency, and independence. This leads to guilt, blame shifting, and covering up. Can you summarize how we see all of these things in Genesis 3? Where have you seen blame-shifting and covering up in your own life?

Re- read Genesis 3:21. How did God cover up Adam and Eve’s shame? What does this teach us about God? About sacrifice?

Reflect and discuss on why making giving the “True meaning of Christmas” can take away from and actually cover up our need to first receive from God before we can give to others.

2. The Conflict.

What happened in Genesis 3 left us with many forms of conflict (Man v God, Man v Man, Man v Self, Man v Nature, Good v Evil). We said one internal conflict that we all face is the conflict between our expectations and our realities. Are you aware of this conflict in your own life? What expectations or desires are unmet?

What are some ways that we might use the Christmas Holiday to meet our desires rather than Christ himself?

Re-read Genesis 3:15. God’s plan to end the conflict between good and evil is for Him to become a child (the offspring of the woman). How does the Christmas story reveal the fulfillment of this plan?

3. The Child.

Read Luke 2:22-35.

Re-read Luke 2:30. Simeon calls the Christ-child God’s salvation. Why is it so important for us to see that salvation comes through a person, not a teaching or a set of rules or a philosophy? How does salvation through rules fail to solve our self- sufficiency and independence problem?

Read Hebrews 2:17. Why did Jesus have to come as a baby?

Re-read Luke 2:34-35. Simeon describes Jesus as someone who not only enters our conflict, but also causes conflict. He will cause people to fall, He is offensive, He is a sword to the soul, He reveal people’s true hearts.

Talk about these things as a group. Do you think of Jesus in these ways? In what ways does Jesus have to first battle us before we can have His peace? How is he offensive? How does He reveal our true heart’s desires?

Read Hebrews 2:14-15. How is this scripture the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15?

For families:

Christmas is a time of giving gifts, and decorating houses, and little lights, and tons of fun- and it should be! But Christmas is also a time of receiving. Teach your children to be good receivers.

Make this Christmas a grace filled one. Show you children that a gift is something that we don’t deserve- we do not earn it. If your children earn an allowance use this to show the contrast.

Be careful to not let your child’s Christmas presents be about earning them. “If you are good you can get ___ for Christmas.” That is not an example of the gospel.

If you do the “Santa thing” with your children (and I’m not advocating either way), try to stress the earlier examples of St. Nicholas sharing with those in need, not those who “are good for goodness sakes.”

Don’t be afraid to read Genesis 3 with your children. Help them to see that Adam and Eve rejected God and His gifts. Also help them to see that God responded with another gift- the covering of animal skins. God does not withhold grace when we sin- quite the opposite. Where sin abounds grace abounds more. Santa and Elf on a Shelf can carry an opposite message from grace, so please be careful.

Fighter Verse Questions for Groups and Families.

Fighter Verse: Genesis 3:15. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

1. What questions do you have about this verse?

2. How does the virgin birth of Jesus fulfill this prophecy? How did Jesus crush the head of Satan?

3. Ultimately Jesus crushed Satan by stealing the power of the fear of death away from him (review Hebrews 2:14-15). Do you have a fear of death? Why or why not? Do you have a fear of life? Why or why not?

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