Weekly Bible Reading Plan – Nov 13-20 – King’s First Act

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.


Questions to Guide You:

In God’s providence we will read about King Jesus’ first act after his triumphant entry. He does not attack Rome rulers, but the Jewish priests. And he reminds every one of his chief purpose.

  • According to Matt 21:12-22, what was Jesus’ first act? Why is he so angry? How does Jesus’ fury marry with your imagination of Jesus?
  • They were changing money into the Jewish currency and selling sacrificial animals for people to use in worship. They were doing so in “The Court of the Gentiles,” which is the outer courtyard of the temple, but is the only place non-Jewish people can worship the Lord. It is as close as the nations can get to God. How does this affect your understanding of Jesus’ anger?
  • Lev 21:18 prohibits the blind and lame from entering the temple, and yet Jesus heals them “at the temple” (vs14), so they can worship. If they could come to Jesus sick and be healed, can you? Who is welcome in Jesus’ presence in the temple?
  • What does Isaiah 56 promise to the nations, the non-Jewish people looking for God? How is this money changing thwarting that promise?
  • Why does God care about the nations? What is his promises to Abraham regarding the nations?
  • Jesus quotes “Den of robbers” from Jer 7. What is God angry about in Jer 7, and how does it match Jesus’ anger?
  • According to Genesis 12 and Ezek 39, what is Israel’s purpose in the world for the nations? How is their faith to affect the nations? How does this culminate in Rev 7? What does it mean for us as a church? What does it mean for how we think about non-believers? Should we withdrawal or engage?
  • Psalm 9 and 99 are both proclamations to the nations. What do the authors want the nations to know? Why is the God of Israel so good, the nations need to know about him?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – Nov 6-13 – King of Kings

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.


Questions to Guide You:

This week is Election week, and in God’s providence we will read about King Jesus entering Jerusalem. We will see that his campaign was not applauded and his platform rejected. We will pray for our government, and we will see God use rulers in the past.

  • Matt 21 is the triumphant entry, or as close as we get to one. It is the equivalent of an Inauguration ball. What seems off about it?
  • Matthew calls Jesus king in verse 5, but the actual rulers of Jerusalem are Roman occupiers. How would it feel to celebrate the 4th of July, while being under German or Japanese control (if we lost WWII)? That’s the situation here for Israel.
  • What does the prophesy in Zechariah 9 promise? What things will happen when the King comes? Matt 21 is a preview of Rev 1. What happens then?
  • 1 Tim 2 instructs us to pray for our leaders often and everywhere. Today during voting and results announcements, pray that God would bless our leaders with wisdom and humility.
  • How can God use godly leaders? How can God use ungodly leaders? If you are disappointed with the results, how can you pray for your enemies and trust God with the results?
  • Ezra 1 tells of an ungodly king, Cyrus, who does a ton of godly things. He is not a Jew and yet God uses him as a shepherd and a benefactor for his people. How does God use this unbelieving ruler? How can God use the person elected yesterday?
  • Daniel 4 shows how the most powerful ruler ever, learned humility. How did it happen? What does Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge in the end?
  • Pray our rulers learn the same lessons in your own words.
  • Psalm 2 talks about a conspiracy of worldly powers against God and God’s king. Does this world/election feel like a conspiracy against God? Transform Psalm 2 into a prayer.
  • Psalm 118 is quoted in Matt 21:9. What stands out in this Psalm? How is the Psalm good news to us?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.

An Extra Sermon about Judgment

As a personal discipline, I listen to multiple sermons each week. Some of these I listen to in order to prepare for a specific sermon. Other’s I simply listen to in order to be fed. I want to start sharing some of these sermons from other churches to help you in your walk with the Lord. I pray they will be helpful to you.
A few weeks ago, I preached on the Parables of the Weeds and the Parable of the Fishes. In the Parable of the Weeds, an enemy sows weeds among a farmer’s wheat crop. In the Parable of the Net or the Fishes, Jesus says the Kingdom is like a great net let down into the sea that pulled up all kinds of fish. At the end of each parable there is a judgment and a separation, which represents the final judgment that will take place when Jesus returns again and his Kingdom comes in full.
In our culture Judgment and especially the Final Judgment is often rejected as unloving, intolerant, narrow-minded, etc. The thinking goes, “If God is all loving and all forgiving, then God would not submit people to the humiliation of judgment or to the punishments of Hell.” But Jesus believes and the Bible teaches over and over again that there will be a Judgment Day and that some will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God and others will be sent away into Hell.


I think this sermon is a neat starting place. It was preached by Timothy Keller, the Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He is one of the best teacher/preachers I know about, and one I listen to regularly. I hope you enjoy.

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – May 31 – June 7

Matt 4.1-11 - Reading Plan Slide 5.31-6.7

 Questions to Guide You:

  1. Who led Jesus into the desert? Why was Jesus led into the wilderness?
  2. Who tempts us? How does he tempt us? What does he tempt us to do?
  3. What did the Devil tempt Jesus with? What happens if he turns stone into bread? Commands angels to carry him in front of Israel? Worships the Devil?
  4. What did the Devil use to argue with Jesus that he should give in? What did Jesus use to shoot down these temptations?
  5. How can you be like Jesus when tempted?
  6. How can Jesus’ temptation and Heb 2:17-18 and Heb 4:15-16 encourage you?
  7. Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted, immediately following an awesome experience of God the Father’s love in baptism. Have you ever experienced temptation after a “mountain top” experience?
  8. What does 1 Cor 10 promise us in ever temptation?

For a printer-friendly copy of this reading plan, including sample questions to augment your study of Scripture, Download the PDF. 


SERMON – Matthew 3:13-17 – The Snow Globe Kingdom (Part 6) – Baptism vs. Baptism


Matthew 3:12-17 - The Snow Globe Kingdom (Part 6)

Baptism vs. Baptism

Preached by Andrew Ruth
Matthew 3:13-17

(Wonder why we call this "The Snow Globe Kingdom?" We explain it here.)

 God promises us 6 things visualized in Baptism.
3 Promises are pictured as we God into the Water.

In Baptism, God promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We are so cleansed as God washes us in the blood of Jesus. 

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:26

In Baptism, we are promised that we died to sin, when Christ died on the Cross, and we were raised to new life as Jesus was raised from the dead.

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins. Col 2:12

In Baptism, God promises that we are credited with Christ's righteousness. We are given all the holiness and perfection Jesus achieved on our behalf. 

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor 5:21

Jesus received 3 gifts on the way out of the water, and because of Jesus, believers are promised the same 3 promises.

We are promised an OPEN HEAVEN. 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22

We are promised the HOLY SPIRIT.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-5

We are promised the FATHER'S DELIGHT.

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Gal 4:6


On April 19, 2015, we started a new longterm Sermon Series to preach our way through the entirety of the Gospel according to Matthew. My overarching title for the whole Matthew Sermon Series is “FOR THE KING,” but to keep it fresh and interesting, we will break this extended study into smaller “mini-series.” Our first mini-series covers Matthew 1-3, and I’ve entitled it “THE SNOW GLOBE KINGDOM.”

Why call the first 3 chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, The Snow Globe Kingdom? Good question. I call them The Snow Globe Kingdom, because they are in many ways a miniature version of the entire Gospel. They present to us in introductory fashion, the major points about God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; about humanity at its best and worst; about God’s history of saving the world; about God’s mercy; and about God’s grace. We will see “in miniature” the beauty and the horror of the whole Bible.

In the first sentence, we will see a summary of God’s faithfulness, as we hear of the promises accomplished in Jesus. In the genealogy, we will see God’s judgment on arrogant, idolatrous kings, and his global mercy on repentant, scandalously sinful, pagan women. In the birth of Jesus to Mary, we will see how the Holy Spirit works on human beings, and how God overcomes the impossible. In Joseph’s response to this scandalous birth, we will see the definition of “righteousness.” In the Magi, we see human beings at their very best, idolaters worshiping false gods, and yet we will simultaneous see how God overcomes our ignorance to lead us to worship and adore gladly the King of the Jews. In Herod’s murderous, lying rage, we see ourselves at our worst, usurping, mutinous, and hostile to God, like Adam and Eve, rejecting the King/God inorder to preserve our own authority and sovereignty. In all of this, we will see a baby, named Jesus, who recapitulates the history of Israel, and the history of humanity. We will see a baby, vulnerable, loved and hated aggressively and somehow “God With Us” in our vulnerability and subject to our hostility. In all of it, we will see the bad news about ourselves and the good news about Jesus.

Because of that it reminds me of a Snow Globe, a minute, intricate, beautiful version of a Kingly Palace. I hope in these first 3 chapters to tour the grounds and the chambers of this beautiful lifesaving message.