Easter Egg Hunt
We are EGGS-cited to be having an Easter Egg Hunt for the children this year. Join us for some hoppin’ fun! In the foyer, beginning next week, we will be collecting plastic eggs, candy, stickers, beaded necklaces, small erasers, and any other small toys that the kids will enjoy. We greatly appreciate any donations and volunteers for this event. Contact Sarah Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 210-260-3407 for more information.
Senior Citizen Outreach
Bingo at Villa Alegre, Friday, February 12th, 10-11am
We are looking for volunteers to host a Valentines Bingo at Villa Alegre Senior
Apartments. It is located at 6902 Marbach Rd. The seniors and volunteers are so Blessed with this outreach and we want to continue ministering on a monthly basis. If you are interested in volunteering or donating prizes, please contact Anna Chavez at 210-872-6997.
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This past Sunday, we talked about a part of the Day of Atonement that is not discussed often, but has a great impact on our lives. We will be looking into Leviticus 16 at this ceremony involving a scapegoat. But before we do this, let's look at a passage in Scripture where Jesus heals a man born blind.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (NIV)
The whole premise of this question is to find blame. The religious atmosphere at the time of Jesus coming to Earth was one of blame, shame, and condemnation. The religious leaders maintained their control and superiority through guilt and shame which can only be developed by continually casting blame, pointing out what others were doing wrong, and make them feel ashamed for what they had done. In this passage, Jesus' own disciples who have grown up in this atmosphere and now, perhaps, they are falling into the trap of religion by wanting to point out other's sins.
There are so many people who always want to cast blame on someone every time something goes wrong. They are not able to overlook anything, but they are driven by a desire to make sure that someone besides themselves are blamed for anything and everything bad that happens.
- Do you know anyone like this?
- Do you enjoy being around them?
- Why or why not?
- Have you ever fallen into the trap of wanting to always blame someone for everything that is wrong?
- Why do you think people do this?
- When people do this, they inflict guilt upon people. How does someone who carries guilt all of the time affect them?
(Facitlitator's Notes: the concept of guilt goes beyond what we have done. It is that thing that addresses who we are. We may feel guilty about what we have done, but guilt affects how we feel about ourselves. Someone who lives with guilt always will begin to feel like they are no good and many times, the same people who blame us for everything are saying to us directly or indirectly that there is something wrong with us. It is not just that we have done something wrong, but that there is something wrong with us.)
Let's read Levitucus 16:7-10
Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat. (NIV)
What is a scapegoat? (Facilitator's note: It is important that everyone understand that the scapegoat is the one on which all blame and thus guilt falls on.)
Jesus represents both goats here. He is the sin offering that covers our sins, but He is also the scapegoat. The scapegoat is the one on whom the blame falls.
Let's keep reading in Leviticus.
Read Leviticus 16:
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. (NIV)
In the NIV, it is translated 'wickedness' and in the KJV it is translated 'iniquities.' Wickedness and iniquity do not refer to sins we have committed. They refer to who we are that allow us to commit these horrible sins. When the Scripture teaches us that the scapegoat carried away the wickedness and iniquity of the people, it is removing from them the guilt of who they are that they would even be tempted by these horrible sins. In the same way, Christ is our scapegoat, which means that on the cross, not only were our sins covered and forgiven, but we are forgiven for who we are as people who have inherited a sinful nature.
- If Christ died for your sins, have we not been set free from condemnation for those sins?
- If we are free from condemnation, ( Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death (NIV)
Romans 8:1-2), when the Lord holds us accountable for our sins, what is the purpose if not condemnation?
- If Christ also died that we might be set free from the guilt and shame we feel as a result of being capable of doing things that make us hate ourself for doing, does He want us to carry guilt and shame?
- Who then, if not Christ, wants us to carry guilt and shame? (Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren is constantly wanting to blame us for everything and make us feel guilty and ashamed.)
- Why does Satan want us to feel guilty and ashamed? (Facilitator's Notes: He wants us to feel as if we are not good enough for God's grace and blessings. He wants us to feel unworthy of love both from God and others. He wants us to use shame and guilt to drive us away from God and the church.)
So many people struggle with guilt and shame over the things they have done. The Devil has accomplished his goal of making them feel unworthy, unloveable, unacceptable by God and people. They beat themselves up and accept so much less than what God has for them because they don't feel they deserve any blessings from God.
- How would it change someone's life to begin to live as someone who has not only been forgiven of their sins, but forgiven for their sinful state, the part of ourselves that we hate because we are capable of doing such horrible things?
- Has anyone here struggled with carrying a great deal of shame and guilt? Where did it come from and how has it affected you?
A couple of weeks ago, as part of the series Being the Church as God intended, we spoke about having to take the Kingdom of God by force.
- How can we take hold of this freedom from our guilt and shame with force? (Facilitator's Note: We do this by taking hold of the truth and forcing our thoughts, words, and actions to obey the truth even while our heart might still feel guilty. We must remind our self that even the darkest part of our soul has been forgiven. Everyone is born with a sinful nature. Everyone has that part within themselves that is capable of the most shameful things, but those who have put their faith in Christ have been forgiven. They have been forgiven for what they have done and for who they are so that we no longer have to carry guilt and shame. Jesus has taken it for us. He is our scapegoat.)
Finish by reading Psalm 32:1-7
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance