St. Johns Parish Church Johns Island SC

Advent 2022 - Adult Discipleship

Advent Through the Lens of Isaiah
The King is Coming!

Advent 1 Expecting the Coming King

Isaiah 2:1-5 with Matthew 24:36-44
Focus Scripture
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it.”—Isaiah 2:2

Transformation and Witness
God’s dream for world peace is fulfilled in the coming of His Son to expectant people. Walking in the light of King Jesus is the way to bring peace to our homes, city, and world.
Up in Worship
Read Psalm 48 to discover what God intends for Zion, the city of His people.
What attributes of God move you to worship Him as a result?

Into Community
What does God see when He looks at the Holy City of Charleston and our community on John's Island? What would you like to see Him do in our city and community?

Read Isaiah 1:1-16
1. In contrast to God’s vision for Zion, what was the Jerusalem of Isaiah’s day really like, and what consequences resulted?
2. What invitation and corresponding promise does God offer to His religious yet faithless people in Isaiah 1:17-20, 24-28?
3. What do these verses teach you about the character of God?

Read Isaiah 2:1-5
4. Against the background of Chapter 1, what do you find interesting about Isaiah's vision concerning Jerusalem?
5. Use the following scriptures and any others you know to describe what is meant by the last days.
Acts 2:17
Hebrews 1:2
John 6:39-40
2 Timothy 3:1
2 Peter 3:3

6. Isaiah speaks of the mountain of the LORD throughout his prophecy. How do the following references help enrich your understanding of God’s vision for His people?
65:9-11, 25
7. A. How is Isaiah’s vision of God’s word meant to encourage the nation of His people in decline? (2-3)

B. What hope do you receive for a broken, deteriorating world under the Lord’s rule? (4-5)
C. What is your response to Isaiah’s invitation in verse 5?To whom will you extend this invitation?

Read Matthew 24:36-44
8. Jesus teaches His disciples about the signs of His coming at the close of the age. What does he reveal about the time of His return (36)?
9. How will the days of Noah be similar to the day when the Son of Man comes? (37-39 with Genesis 6:5-7; 7:7)
10. What will it look like for you, your family, or church to live in expectation for the coming of King Jesus (40-44).

Out in Mission
What distinguishes you from those in Noah’s day? Or What indicators in your life show that you are prepared for the coming of King Jesus?
How Is God calling you, your family, and life group to walk in the light of the Lord so that your city, nation, or world can be prepared for the coming of King Jesus?

Advent 2 The Kind of King Who is Coming

Isaiah 11:1-10 with Matthew 3:1-12
Focus Scripture
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him.”—Isaiah 11:1-2a

Transformation and Witness
Only the reign of King Jesus will produce the kind of justice that brings lasting peace.

Up in Worship
"When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream" (Psalm 126:1).
Read Psalm 126 to identify the fruit of sharing in God’s dream of restoration. How does this passage cause you to praise God today?

Into Community
What would you say is the chief difference between God’s dream and our own dreams? What truths about God and man can help you distinguish between the two kinds of dreams?

Read Isaiah 11:1-10
1. What does Isaiah mean by the stump of Jesse and a branch from his roots that will bear fruit (1)?
(See Isaiah 1:21-28, 10:1-6; See also 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1, 6; and Revelation 22:16)
2. What kind of king does Isaiah prophesy will come (2-5)?
3. Why would God’s dream promised through Isaiah be a source of good news for the people of his day? How is i
t also good news for those in our day?
4. Describe the extent to which the kingdom of Isaiah 11:6-10 differs from all other kingdoms of the world.
Note: Seven hundred and fifty years after Isaiah’s prophecy, Luke records the fulfillment of God’s dream in a synagogue of Nazareth. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah, Jesus reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, 21).

Read Matthew 3:1-12
5. What is significant about the way John the Baptist prepares the way for the coming kingdom (1-6, 11-12)?
6. How does John the Baptist warn the rulers of his day—the Pharisees and Sadducees (7-10)?
7. Using the lessons from Isaiah and Matthew, what is required for God’s dream to become your own— as an individual, family, life group, or community?

Out in Mission
How will you devote more of your energy, resources, and time to live according to God’s dream (so that others may also share in the only dream that will not disappoint because it’s His)?

Advent 3 Recognizing the King when he Comes

Isaiah 35:1-10 with Matthew 11:2-11 
Focus Scripture 
“[B]ut the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads…” —Isaiah 35:9b-10a

Transformation and Witness
Looking at life through today’s disappointments makes you a captive of your expectations.  But looking at life through the glory of the Christ’s redemption releases you to sing for joy.

Up in Worship
How has God enabled you to worship Him by letting go of your own dream in order to embrace His?

 Into Community
1.  Name something or someone you looked forward to, believed in, and worked for recently that did not turn out the way you expected. How did you respond to your disappointed expectations?

Read Isaiah 35:1-10
2.  What happens to the desert wilderness when the Lord comes to save his people (1-7)?
3.  Why do you think the Lord’s coming has this kind of effect on the land itself?  
(See also Genesis 3:13-19; Romans 8:18-25).
A.  What does this effect reveal about God who is coming to save and restore His world?
B. How might land also picture the landscape of our hearts and the impact of God’s salvation spiritually as well as physically?
C. What do the patterns from Isaiah 1 and 2; 10 and 11; and 34 and 35 teach you about how God’s salvation will come to people?
4.  From Isaiah 35:8-10, other passages of scripture, and a dictionary, what does it mean to be “redeemed”?
5. How is the Lord Jesus Christ a Redeemer? (See also I Peter 1:18-19). How has he redeemed your life, and what is your response as a result?
6. Describe the highway leading God’s people to their eternal home in Zion (8-10). What will this highway be like and what kind of people will be able to walk on it?

Read Matthew 11:2-11
7. Why do you think John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the one (2-3)?
8. What signs does Jesus give as proof that he is the promised Messiah King? How does he also affirm John the Baptist, his ministry, and others who labor in His kingdom (4-11)?
Out in Mission
 Jesus says, “…blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (11:6). 
What do these words reveal about what it means to look for and labor in Christ’s kingdom in the now and not yet of its fulfillment?
How may God redeem your disappointed expectations regarding His work, promises, and move in your life? What hope as a result could you offer those who are disappointed around you?                                    
How does focusing on the joy before you enable you to live as a witness of King Jesus wherever He has place you?

Advent 4 The King Who is God with Us

          Isaiah 7:10-17 with Matthew 1:18-25
Focus Scripture 
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”—Isaiah 7:14

Transformation and Witness
Only God who is with us is able to save us.

Up in Worship
In The Book of Mysteries, Jonathan Cahn writes, “you can never judge a story by its beginning or middle or by any of its parts before the ending.  It is the ending of the story that determines everything that went before it” (343).
How does God’s promise to his people—of an eternal home in everlasting joy— help you worship Him in your current situation?

Into Community
1.  What signposts over the last year has God used to confirm His promise(s) to you, your family, church, or community?
2. As you consider the miracles of Jesus, from the book of John for example, why does God use signs, and how can we know they are from Him?

Read Isaiah 7: 1-10
3.  From 2 Kings 16:1-10 and 2 Chronicles 28:16-21, what do you learn about the rule of King Ahaz over Judah?
4.  Why do you think the Lord God would command King Ahaz to ask for a sign (10-11)?
5. How does Ahaz respond, and what does God think of his response (12-13)?
6. What sign does God give and what does it communicate (14-17)?
7. When have you refused to obey God recently because you insisted on your own way of salvation in threatening circumstances? What did God teach you about His ways?

Read Matthew 1:18-25
8. In what way does God fulfill the sign he gave through Isaiah 750 years later? What does the scope of fulfillment—in the days of King Ahaz and much later—teach you about the nature of prophecy? (See also 1 Peter 1:10-12.)
9. How is the virgin birth of King Jesus a necessary factor in the salvation He offers humanity?
10. What difference has knowing Immanuel, God who is with us, made in the way you serve, work, and play?

Out in Mission
The refusal of the King and His conditions is man’s greatest problem.
What do you think about the above statement? 
Where do you and others often look to be saved? 
In your current circumstances—at home, work, or church—how is God calling you to look to Him as the only one who is able to save you?
What difference would your looking to God alone for salvation make in the lives of others?