As you come together this week to pray and read the Word, here are some reminders and reflections from this week’s sermon. My prayer is that these reminders and questions will assist your conversation, meditation and prayer.
For those of us who attended the study group this evening, you’ll recall that our prayer is precious worship to God. It pleases Him! Keep this in mind as you pray together.
- What are some of the church needs you’re aware of?
- Who in the church needs your intercession?
- What are you and your loved ones praying for at the moment?
- What wider situations can you pray into?
This week we looked at Luke 21:25-38, where Jesus is continuing the Olivet Discourse. This time, the focus is very much on the end of the age: while last week we considered the near-term fulfilment of Christ’s words (in 70AD), this time we looked at the ultimate fulfilment at the Return of Jesus Christ.
The Times of the Gentiles
We saw how Jesus uses the technical term “the times of the Gentiles” as the period in which we currently live. It stretches all the way from the captivity of 586BC, through present day, until Christ returns.
Three things typify this period:
- Deception (v8)
- Disaster (v9-11)
- Persecution (v12-19)
These things will increase until culminating in the events described in v25-28.
- Does it help us to have this prophesied? (see Mark 13:23)
- How do we reconcile this with texts like 1 Timothy 2:1-7? Should we respond by hiding away, or by action?
Doctrine Becomes Duty
In verse 28, we noted Jesus’ commands to us: straighten up and raise your heads! When we see the fig tree leafing and budding, which is the national privileges of the nation of Israel being restored, then “the kingdom of God is near.” Then, three potential “weights” to our souls are identified in v34:
- Dissipation – misspent money
- Drunkenness – misspent time
- Cares of this life – misplaced focus
This is a real area of concern for us, and it is easy to get out of balance! Read the following Scriptures carefully:
- 1 Corinthians 6:12 – Paul says all things are lawful, but not helpful. He refuses to be “dominated” by anything. See also 10:23 (not all things “build up”)
- 1 Timothy 6:17 – We set our hopes on God “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
- Matthew 19:21 – Jesus urges the rich young ruler to sell all he has for riches in heaven.
- Are there things that you have found “dominate” you, either now or in the past? Examples might be mobile phones, the internet, or television series. Addition to these things is a real issue that affects many. God wants you free of any form of addition.
- How do you balance enjoying what God has richly provided, with storing up treasure in heaven? Are there areas you are currently thinking about, or feel the Holy Spirit convicting you?
Keep Each Other Accountable
Your Connect Groups are intended to be a place where you can talk and share openly and honestly about the areas in which we struggle. Be careful to encourage and thank one another as you walk together.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Pray for One Another
Paul urges us to pray with perseverance for all the saints. Make it your commitment to pray for your Connect Group members this week.
Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,