Advent Expectations

By Jacob Toman

During advent this year we will be studying the many audiences that were awaiting the coming of the messiah. We’ll discover ancient signs and prophecies of this savior that these audiences would have known about.  And we may even find that the way we await to celebrate Christmas may in fact be similar to how some of the first advent audiences awaited Jesus.

  1. What comes to mind when you hear Advent?
  2. Do you or your family have traditions you celebrate during the build up to Christmas?
  3. If someone were to visit you from 2000 years ago, how would you explain what Christmas means to you?
  4. What are some of the signs the first audiences would have been looking for?

Numbers 21:6-9

6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

John 3:14-18

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

We learn from Numbers that the Messiah would ______ his people. Jesus takes this upon himself in John 3 saying that he has come to ______ those who believe.


Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:30-35

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

We learn from Isaiah the birth of the messiah will be a __________ one that is mysterious and from God. Mary’s testimony and _________ is confirmed by her friends, family, and fiance.


Micah 5:2

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Matthew 2:1-5

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

We learn from Micah that the Messiah will come from a small clan, that is ancient, and be born in __________. In Matthew we see this confirmed that the Magi and Herod were focused on the birth of this child who was born in ___________.

We have seen that the Messiah would come to save, the birth of the Messiah would be miraculous,  and the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. For further reading, see Luke 1:5-80.

G&G Christmas 2017 Theme: Advent Audiences

By Jacob Toman

This year for the weeks leading up to Christmas, and for the weeks leading up to the traditional calendar date for Epiphany, we will be examining the Advent Audiences that were anticipatorily awaiting the messiah.

King Herod and the Wise Men.jpg

As we seek to look back at the first audiences of Jesus birth, and his life, we will seek to better know who the people were Jesus came to live among, serve, rebuke, and save. We will walk through the lives and experiences of the people who had fears, hopes, and expectations of the coming messiah.

We will seek to learn from the faith and hope of the Magi who came from the east.

We will dive into the anxieties and overwhelming joy of the expectant Mary.

We will bring to light the sinful idols of the first century and today.

We will challenge ourselves with the songs of proclamation from the messengers of God.

We will listen to the words of Jesus to crowds who wanted so much less than he offered.

I invite you to join us at Gospel & Gaming as we seek to share in the excitement, and anticipation of the celebration of Christ’s incarnation through our advent series: Advent Audiences.

Bible Study: 1 John 5

By Jacob Toman

This is part of a Bible study series where we are examining each chapter of 1 John and asking challenging questions about the text.  In addition to this series of articles, we’ll also be focusing some questions on our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as in our sermons and other Bible studies we conduct with people in our community, around the book of 1 John.  We hope that this series will help you learn not only about this particular book of the Bible, but also how to better examine and benefit from God’s word.  Enjoy!

Throughout the book the author has related to his audience through the use of family greetings. The connection of John to his audience is a bond of friendship and close knit care: John cares greatly for the wellbeing of his audience, and sees his own joy intertwined with the joy of those to whom he writes.

In this final chapter of John, he seems to be a bit scattered. Discussing love, faith, testimony of truth, the person of Jesus, prayer, confidence in knowing God, eternal life, sin, and idolatry. We may stand back and accuse John of being disorganized or rushed as he ends this first epistle. Yet in these last few verses, we see the focus of John for his audience is to know the secure confidence of relationship with God. Take a few moments to read 1 John 5, and then follow up by considering the witness of John and the encouragement of John.


1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

7 For there are three that testify:

8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.

10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.

17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.



1.    What is the hallmark of the children of God? (Hint: see v1-3)

2.    What is meant by three witnesses? (Hint: Think of a court of law)

3.    How can you tell a trustworthy witness from a false witness?

4.    What does John lean on for his witnesses? (Hint: See 1 John 1:1-3, 2:24-26)

5.    What are the three encouragements John gives his audience?

a.     God _______ his people (Hint: See v14-15)

b.    God keeps his people _______  (Hint: See v18)

c.    God gives _______  to his people (Hint: See v11, 13)