2019 YP Convention Discussion Group Outline #1—The Signs of the Times
Rev. David Noorman
With a simple prophetic reference to the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2), the disciples’ minds immediately went to the end of the world, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (v. 3). Jesus’ answer begins with a sobering warning, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (vs. 4–5) and from there he identifies the signs of his coming that they would see, hear, and experience.
Following that introduction of vs. 1–3, the remainder of Matthew 24 can be considered in three parts. First, Jesus gives a general outline of the various signs of the times (vs. 4–14). Second, he provides a more detailed explanation of the very last days of this age, including the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation, the Great Tribulation, and the glorious appearance of the Son of Man himself (vs. 15–31). Third and finally, Jesus applies this instruction to the disciples (vs. 32–51).
It is important that all of God’s people, young and old, understand and are able to recognize the signs of the end. Jesus was not willing to leave his disciples without giving them this all-important lesson!
- Observing the Signs: Matthew 24:4–14
- What are some of the different kinds of signs that Jesus outlined? Which of these do you see most prominently today? Can you see how these signs have increased in frequency and intensity since the days of the disciples?
- What one sign seems to stand above the rest? Why might this be?
- Why is God pleased to give us signs at all? What purpose do they serve?
- Experiencing the End: Matthew 24:15–31
- What is the message of Christ to those who shall see the Abomination of Desolation (Antichrist) standing in the holy place?
- What will be the nature of the Great Tribulation? And what comfort is afforded to those who will endure it?
- Being Ready: Matthew 24:32–51
- Seeing that no man knows the day or the hour of his coming, the calling Jesus gives to us is “Watch!” How do we do this? What might distract us from this calling? How, as young people, can we help each other with this?
- Jesus builds on this command in vs. 44–51, where he teaches us that he will come in such a day that the wicked are not looking for him, “Therefore be ye also ready!” What does it mean to be ready? How can we as young people be prepared for his coming?
2019 YP Convention Discussion Group Outline #2 — Unashamed of the Gospel
Rev. Heath Bleyenberg
We live in the midst of a wicked world where the gospel truths are openly mocked and ridiculed. Thus, there is great pressure placed upon the Christian to live godly and there is great pressure to compromise our faith. The apostle Paul knew firsthand the pressures of godly living and yet he boldly confesses in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”
- The Gospel—The gospel literally means “the good news.”
- When you survey the Bible, what at bottom is the good news? Why is this truth so precious to God’s people? (Cf. Gen. 3:15, 2 Sam. 7:12–14, Isaiah 9:6; Malachi 4:2–3, Matthew 1:20–23).
- The gospel includes ALL the truths of Scripture, including the distinctive doctrines of the Reformed faith. Make a list of as many distinctive doctrines of the Reformed faith that you can think of and give a Scripture proof for each.
- Unashamed of the Gospel
- What does it mean to be ashamed? What would be some of the reasons why we would be ashamed of the gospel or some particular aspect thereof?
- We are called to live unashamedly of the gospel truths we confess. Look up the following Scriptural references and write down how God’s people were unashamed of the gospel: Daniel 3:16–18, Daniel 6:10ff, Acts 6:29–32 & 40–41; Acts 26.
- Write down how God uses the following means to help us stand strong in the faith so that we’re not ashamed of what we believe: faithful membership in the church, godly friendships, personal devotions.
- The Punishment and Blessing
- Jesus says in Mark 8:38 “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” What does it mean when the Jesus would be “ashamed” of someone in the final judgment? (Cf Matt. 10:33).
- Jesus says in Matthew 10:32 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” What does that mean when Jesus confesses us before the Father? How is this such great incentive for us to live unashamed of Jesus and unashamed of his words?