Loving God Pt. 2; Transforming Love
Pastor Ryan Buss
-When you think about growing up, what were some things that you looked forward to about growing up? What sort of stuff do you look back on with nostalgia?
-Growing Up [vs. 12-14]
1. What are some of the different characteristics about John's portrayal of spiritual maturity?
2. How do we grow in spiritual maturity? Why should we be pursuing spiritual maturity?
3. How does God's love for us help us to grow in maturity?
-Greater Desires [vs.15-17]
1. John gives us the commands to not love the world or the things in the world. How is John using the term "world" in this context? Why is this important to remember as we read this passage?
2. What are the desires of the flesh? What does this look like in our culture today?
3. What are the desires of the eyes?
4. What is the pride of life? How do you find yourself being tempted in these things in your life?
5. How does God's love help us to overcome the temptations of the world? How does God's love help us to find our desires transformed?
-Pray for one another!
A Jesus Who Many Don't Get
Discuss: A Jesus Who Many Don't Get - Luke 9: 43-52
Duane was back in the saddle this week to teach us about a "A Jesus Who Many Don't Get." To set the table for the talk he listed off a few things he didn't "get". Things like: bringing an umbrella to the beach (to block out that sweet sweet sun), why God created rats, and punny jokes.
What are some popular things that you just don't "get"?
Let's read through the passage and learn a bit about the kind of people who had a chance, but just didn't get Jesus.
43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 "Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men." 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
46 An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great."
49 John answered, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us." 50 But Jesus said to him, "Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you."
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village.
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61 Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." [Luke 9: 43-62]
There is a lot to unpack in this passage. But first -
Did you have something that stuck out to you in this passage? Questions? Favorite parts? Confusing parts?
Duane wanted to highlight how people miss Jesus in 3 ways.
Missing Jesus' Purpose
Missing Jesus' Passion
Missing Jesus' Person
MISSING JESUS' PURPOSE
Jesus' ministry was unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. He was healing people, feeding people, meeting with Elijah and Moses on top of a mountain. It was full of power. His disciples had been able to witness that power firsthand and their plans for that power did not always line up with God's plans. They thought He would save them from earthly oppression, poverty, humiliation, disease, and work.
What do you find yourself wanting Jesus to save you from?
Duane pointed out that anytime we get our eyes off the cross we miss Jesus' purpose in the world. Jesus came to save us from God's wrath. He tells the disciples in v 22 He is here to die. He came to settle our account so that we can enjoy fellowship with our creator again.
What does that fellowship offer us? If the disciples knew what they were gaining by Jesus' death how do you think they would have responded?
MISSING JESUS' PASSION
A few of the disciples get into an argument about who is the greatest.
What sorts of reasons do you think the disciples were giving to prove they were "great?"
Duane highlighted the fact they were arguing. They had passion about this idea; unfortunately this idea was all about them. They had placed themselves on the throne of their heart and wanted the glory they felt due.
Is passion a good trait? Can God use it?
Jesus gets into the discussion and recognizing why they were really arguing, informs them that "he who is least among you all is the one who is great"
What do you think Jesus meant by that? How would you explain it to a friend?
The disciples then discuss with Jesus how they are upset because another group has been also performing miracles in Jesus name.
Why was that upsetting to disciples?
Jesus puts a kibosh on that, explaining to them "Do not stop them, for the one who is not against you is for you" [v50] It can be tempting to look at other churches as competitors.
How is your attitude towards other churches? Do you feel jealous? Judgmental? Excited? Apathetic?
MISSING JESUS' PERSON
Finally in this passage Doctor Luke reports about 3 different people who come up to Jesus and "apply" to follow Him.
The first turns away when He finds that Jesus has no earthly benefit to share. The second changes his mind when Jesus asks him be a priority above his family. The third decides not to follow after Jesus denies him the opportunity to brag to his friends and family about how he is going on the road with Jesus.
Which of the 3 do you most often find yourself empathizing with?
Do you ever want more stuff, a bigger house, more money?
Do you ever put off spiritual things for your family?
Do you ever care more about what other people think than what God thinks?
Duane then pointed to the good news: Jesus knows we don't have what it takes to follow Him perfectly.
These stories were recorded to give us hope that we can learn, and fail yet still have hope in the Gospel.
Pray with your CG to remove yourself from the throne of your heart, that we would keep our eyes on the cross, and be able to follow Jesus before all others.
Hurricane Harvey has been the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years. South Houston has experienced the largest US mainland rainfall due to a single tropical system ever: 49.2 inches (125cm), that is equivalent to the average annual rainfall at Houston Airport.
So far at least 30,000 people have been made homeless but the final figure is likely to be much higher.
The impact already has been extreme. So far at least 30,000 people have been made homeless but the final figure is likely to be much higher. Tens of thousands are without power, increasing daily as the waters rise. The insurance bill is expected to exceed $10bn and direct losses are expected to exceed $20bn. 50% of cotton harvest for Houston and the surrounding area is lost.
On Monday alone, the Texas Coastguard rescued 3,000 people and the police rescued 1,000 people. People are still being rescued from
Recovery from Hurricane Ike (2008) took at least 6 months. Acts 29 Houston is expecting this to be 12 months or more.
We have over 20 Acts 29 churches in the local Houston area. Some Acts 29 pastors have been directly impacted with cars and property lost and family members having to swim to safety. According to locals, the impact is not exaggerated by the media and the scope of this storm is massive.
How Can We Help?
Praise God that unity and collaboration amongst churches in Houston and others
Acts 29 is giving $50,000 towards this appeal and we hope that you & your churches will consider contributing. Donations will be used to provide relief and recovery assistance to individuals, families, and churches impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Finances will be the biggest need as Acts 29 Houston prepares for the recovery effort.
Here are three ways for churches and individuals to give:
US donors can text keyword "HARVEYRELIEF" to "51555" and follow prompts to give via credit card
Anyone can give online at www.clearcreek.org/harveyrelief
Anyone can mail a check to Clear Creek Community Church 999. N. Egret Bay Blvd. League City, TX
If you would like to wire funds please email for instructions.
For options 2 and 3, please indicate it’s from an Acts 29 source to help with tracking and accountability
Houston Church Planting Network (containing many Acts 29 churches) is compiling a list of churches from outside of Houston that may be interested in bringing in a team to serve, donating supplies, etc., as the waters recede.
If you are interested you can visit http://www.hcpn.org/harveyhelp to give us your information. The recovery effort will be going on for months, so please be patient as they get coordinated for long-term efforts. This will be a marathon and not a sprint. Rescue & Relief are happening now but recovery will go on for months and they envision needing outside support if people are interested.
The Last Supper
Deacon Ryan Leech
If you were to have one last meal before you died, what would it be and why? Who would you spend it with?
-Jesus takes His last meal before He dies with His disciples at Passover. What does this communicate about Jesus’ character? What does this teach us about how Jesus views relationship?
-Ryan used the painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo DiVinci to help us set the scene for what was happening in the upper room. He highlighted 4 of Jesus’ disciples and their various reactions to Jesus’ statements. Each disciple had a particular way of responding that revealed what they believed about Jesus. Which ones do you feel you resonate with and why?
John: the youngest of all the disciples and closest to Jesus longing for relationship, yet runs away in fear when things get a little scary.
Peter: the brash one, talking a lot of talk, who denies even knowing Jesus when things got real.
Judas: loved the things of the world more than Jesus and end up betraying Him
Thomas: skeptical of what Jesus was saying, even when he sees him face to face Thomas had to actually put his hands on Jesus’ wounds before he believed.
-Ryan then taught us the historical meal of the passover that the Jews would celebrate every year, which had seven parts to it. In the Last Supper scene in Luke, we see many of the parts of this meal with Jesus qualifying them as being fulfilled in Him.
Cup 1: as God, Jesus gives thanks for what He has done for His people
Cup 2: Jesus says that this cup signifies the new covenant of God as being established for His people by His blood shed on the cross.
The bread: Jesus teaches the disciples that the bread actually represents His body to be broken for their salvation
The Last Supper scene really centers around the sixth part of the meal which is the consumption of the sacrificial lamb, which Jesus says is His body given for His people.
How might knowing more of the background of the Jewish passover meal help us to understand the seriousness of communion and what Jesus accomplished for us?
-Ryan’s main theme for the Last Supper is that it is relational; that it shows us Jesus’ desire to be with His people in intimate communion. Do you believe that? How can we grow in understanding this?
-At times we treat our communion time as a weekly ritual without thought, yet it has transcendent importance and reality. Ryan said that communion is one of the most important things we do all week, so why do we forget that? What would it look like to treat it as the most important part of our week and weekly gathering as a church?
-Pray for one another!
Dear Resolved Church Family,
As the leadership of The Resolved Church, we want to be clear in our response to the recent violent riots in Charlottesville this past week. We are deeply heartbroken by these acts of hatred and violence and grieve over this racism which is prevalent throughout this country and our city. We desire to give some careful, pastoral thoughts on racism and our church’s posture against it.
First, we denounce the ideology and practices of white supremacy as evil, hateful, bigoted, and anti-Christ. The events that occurred in Charlottesville are horrific and the racism espoused there ought to be opposed anywhere we see it. Racism and racial supremacy are heretical ways of thinking opposed to the very gospel of Jesus Christ, as it says in Acts 17:26, “He has made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…” All people everywhere are created in the image of God and thus have inherent dignity and value before God and other people. Anyone who teaches or harbors racist ideology in their hearts are harboring a lie of hate and evil which destroys people and communities, sets up divisions, and causes strife. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news which breaks down barriers and establishes diverse, loving communities of all peoples.
Second, the Church is made up of people from various ethnicities and colors. It was and is Jesus’ mission to reconcile all people from every tribe and tongue to Himself. God takes special delight in the variety and diversity of humans made in His image and likeness and so do we. To remain silent when people of any culture/race/color experience violence or prejudice is cruel and apathetic and in so doing, we propagate the same hatred. As a church, we must stand in solidarity with the victims of racism and white supremacy when events like Charlottesville occur.
Third, our posture as a church moving forward must be as humble, empathetic learners. The reality is that though we are growing in being a multi-ethnic congregation, we are still a predominately white church. This means that we need to take the time to listen to our brothers and sisters of color in order to learn from their experiences and to empathize with them in their story. Though we want to posture ourselves as listeners, our voice also matters. It matters to our brothers and sisters in our church who wonder if we understand their pain and are watching to see our response. How will we respond? How will you respond? These issues matter to Christ. As a pastor and brother in the Lord, I readily confess my own ignorance and blindness to these issues and
We have attached several resources that we believe gives further clarity and depth to this important topic. Please read and listen through the attached resources so we can all learn and grow together.
We love you all deeply, Resolved Church, and are expectantly seeking Christ for how He will grow us and use us to further His Kingdom here in San Diego as it is in heaven.
United in Christ,
Pastor Ryan Buss
On behalf of the pastors of The Resolved Church
FAQs of Charlottesville - Joe Carter
Race, the Gospel, and the Moment - Tim Keller
What Now in Charlottesville? - Christine Hoover
Grace, Justice, and Mercy: An Evening with Bryan Stevenson
White Supremacy is Spiritual Bondage - Mika Edmonson
Loving God Pt. 1
This week we tabbed over to 1st John to continue our "Simple Faith" study with Pastor Ryan. this week the Apostle John wanted us to simply love our brother. Speaking of brothers and sisters...
What sort of things
Let's read the passage and then discuss our thoughts:
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you,
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in
But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
- 1 John 2:7-11
Was there anything from the passage you liked? Had questions about? Disliked?
It's an interesting reality that we are now actual brothers and sisters with all other believers. Our friends at The Resolved, the strangers at the Resolved we promise ourselves we'll talk to one day, members of churches down the street and across the world. All your brothers and sisters. Family.
John says God has clearly laid our responsibility to these select people in the world, to love them. Pastor Ryan led us through 2 points regarding this command:
Theology of Love
Practice of Love
THEOLOGY OF LOVE
John starts this gentle rebuke with the word "Beloved". He wants the readers secure in his love before he broaches this important topic.
How do you start hard conversations? How do you decide it's time to have a hard "rebuke-ish" type conversation with someone?
How could this cause and effect be true? What are some of the ramifications of this in our life?
The language used in this passage is light and dark, there's no gray area with light and dark, there is no darkness in light on in the complete absence of light. Pastor Ryan pointed out that with this language you either love your brother, or you hate your brother, there's no "I nothing my brother" option.
What are some of the implications of John's use of "light and dark"? What are the implications in your life of seeing your relationships as loving or hating with no gray area?
Pastor Ryan pointed out that there's a priority given to loving other believers, John's commandment here isn't a carte blanche love to the entire world. It's specific to other
How might this priority of love be challenging? Why do you think John and Jesus make loving the brothers a priority?
PRACTICE OF LOVE
We're told to love our fellow believers and Pastor Ryan gave us three practical ways to do that.
We can do it through our speech. In Ephesians 4:29 we're told to not let any corrupting talk come out of our mouths.
What opportunities do you have to love through speech?
Pastor Ryan also introduced the idea of the "Rule of T.E.N." Before speaking, especially in critical situations ask yourself is this True? Is this Edifying? Is this Necessary?
How would your life change if you only spoke things that followed the rule of ten?
We can also do it through our service. Jesus set an unmistakable example of service for us throughout His life on earth.
What opportunities do you have to love through service?
Another Apostle, Paul, frequently described himself as "your servant, for Jesus sake". (2 Cor 4:5)
What does it mean to be a servant for Jesus sake?
What opportunities do you have to love through sacrifice?
All things are God's and yet He sacrificed His most precious Son for us, showing us nothing is untouchable or off the table in our relationship.
What things do you shy away from bringing to the table to sacrifice? Your money? Job? Stuff? Time? Habits or proclivities?
Pray as a group, that we continue to dwell on and experience God's love for us spilling over into our love for our fellow believers.
A Jesus Who is More
-We are made for more. If there was one thing you could have more of in life, what would it be? Why?
-Recap the scene on top of the mountain with Jesus and His disciples. What do you notice about Jesus in this scene? His disciples?
-In the 2nd century there was a heretical movement called Docetism, which claimed that Jesus was like a ghost; that He did not have a real, physical body or really suffer.What makes this such a dangerous belief? How might our culture have a similar false belief about Jesus?
-The cross is where we see the glory of Christ most clearly. How?
-Luke lives in a culture that venerated the worship of many different gods. So non-Jews living during this time would have naturally read this story and saw many gods in it. How might our culture be more similar to the 1st century time with the worship of many different gods?
-Jesus challenges us to believe that He is more than we think. He is not just a god, but The God! There is no wiggle room for unbelief. Why don't we like to hear that? What is it about hearing there is only one way that is difficult for us?
-God the Father loves and delights in His Son! This love and delight
-How would you define glory? How does our culture define glory?
1. glory is the ultimate in the Bible. It is all of Gods infinite, vast and great aspects in one word.
-The disciples saw the unseen glory of God in the face of Jesus. If you were to see this glory today, how do you think you would respond? Why?
-What in our culture tempts us to believe in a false glory? What glories does our culture preach today? How is Jesus more glorious
-Like the little boy in the story, where do we need the healing of Jesus? How might seeing His glory in the cross heal us today?
IV. Pray for one another!
Our City Mission
San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country. We’re an urban city. Yet, with over 130 different neighborhoods we often live and function with a suburban mentality. Pastor Ross Lester, of a sister Acts 29 church in Johannesburg South Africa gives some keen insights into how we can live on mission in a city like ours. - Pastor Duane
Why don’t we talk more freely about living in the suburbs?
The suburbs are a bit embarrassing it seems, and yet statistically, most of us here probably live and minister in a suburban context. Over 53% of the US population lives in the burbs, and though it might not seem like it, it is the fastest growing population migration in the West, with low-density suburbs growing the fastest by far. I know it looks like lots of people are moving back into the city, with their ironic mustaches and alarmingly tight trousers, but the re-inhabiting of urban spaces is a complex and costly exercise and isn’t keeping track with people just trying to get to the suburbs for some peace and quiet.
And we do have a verse for that desire in 1 Thess 4:11, which says, “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, minding your own business, and scooping up after your dog…”, (that last bit has the translators perplexed, because actually tells us to work with our hands, but we have no idea how to translate that into a suburban context.) But while we do have a verse that seems to justify suburban retreat, we actually know that suburban living is kind of structurally set up as anti-gospel.
Jared Wilson said, “I think the spirit at work in the suburbs tends to smother the Christian spirit. The message of the suburbs, in a nutshell, is self-empowerment. Self-enhancement. Self-fulfillment. Self is at the center, and all things serve the self. The primary values of suburbia are convenience, abundance, and comfort. In suburbia you can have it all – and you can get it made to order in a super-sized cup with an insulated sleeve.”
And so, for quite a long time I partially resented having to minister into a suburban context. Longing for something a little more missionally credible. A little more street.
But, God opened my eyes. Behind the barriers of immaculate lawns and white picket fences, (or in our context of high walls and electric fence perimeters), hides real people. People full of fear, full of anxiety, full of stress, full of idolatry, full of sin and full of almost endless potential for gospel advance if we would engage them well. My mind and my heart reflected on Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler. I know that not everyone in the suburbs is rich, but I think most people in the suburbs wrestle like that young man with having a split priority heart. Mark’s gospel tells us that as the young ruler is spitting out self-justification, and just before Jesus is going to pull the rug out from under him, that Jesus looks at him and loves him. We are called to do the same. To love and serve spilt-priority people.
So, here are just a few things we have learned in growing to love our suburban setting. They are subjective and incomplete, but maybe they may spark something in one or two of you.
You have to fight hard for genuine community in places that revolve around the cult of the stand-alone nuclear family unit
Man, this is one of the biggest struggles in suburban environments. They are expensive, which means people tend to work crazy hours, they are filled with crazy schedules for kids, so time after work is full to the brim, and they are designed – even spatially – around suspicion of other, and so getting genuine community happening is very difficult.
Sociologists have noted that in the US at least, the design of houses has changed in the suburbs. Houses used to be near the front of the lots, with the front porch as the central point. Now they are built with the living areas all facing the back of the lot, with the private back patio being the focal point.
It’s tough work getting suburban people into biblical community. It’s pushing water up hill, it’s pushing camels through eyes of needles, but if we believe that the gospel creates the sorts of the communities we really believe it does, well then don’t stop pushing the water…or the camels.
In addition, we should model this for our people, and not be guilty of asking them to live in levels of community that we ourselves don’t see as necessary or good for our families and lives.
You have to strive to model and teach the value of diversity in spaces built around homogeny
I know South Africa has this amplified, because segregated spatial planning was official government policy as recently as 23 years ago. But even as a South African, I find suburban spaces in other parts of the world hugely homogenous.
Churches have to break the mold on this. If there is an area in the world where we can actually be trendsetters, it is this one. Gosh but it takes boldness, humility, repentance and the willingness to fail, but we must strive. The price of suburban churches simply accepting the standards of their own geographical homogeny is high. It says the opposite of the all that we believe. It values comfort over compassion, and it creates safe spaces for ongoing prejudice, bigotry and racism to hide and fester, never having to blow its cover.
You have to continually highlight God’s desire for justice in spaces designed to remove people from feeling and experiencing injustice
The suburbs are wonderful. I really like living in them. The schools are good, the parks are good, the areas are safer. Thus, they can have a numbing impact on people, so that when they see other people experiencing injustice, their response becomes one where their own experience with lack of injustice towards them allows them to negate the injustice experienced by others.
Brothers and sisters, I know we are cautious of a liberal social gospel. But truth be told, us reformed cats have the big view of a sovereign God, and we are told again and again that that God hates injustice. We hold to the high truths of the Scripture and those Scriptures tell us again and again that the people of God are called to be a just and merciful people in the midst of an unjust and unmerciful world.
Suburban churches should be regularly disquieted by their prophetic pastors, who draw attention to the ills in the world, and especially the ones that our suburban existences create and exacerbate.
Our schools are good, because there is inequitable spending on schools in other areas.
Our neighborhoods are safe for us, because they aren’t safe for people who don’t look like us. Our products are cheap and varied, because people down the supply chain have been squeezed to below livable wages to get them to us.
Our suburban life of comfort comes at a great cost to others.
You have to remind people of God’s great mission and their place in it, in the midst of routines, school-runs, commutes and survival
Suburban life can seem like and endless routine of school-runs, latte stops, long commutes, soccer matches and weekends that are too short. Radiohead summarized it well albeit somewhat fatalistically when they sang, “I’ll take the quiet life, a handshake of carbon monoxide. With no alarms and no surprises.”
But the Grand Narrative of Scripture doesn’t exclude people from participation in God’s great mission of bringing all things under his rule and reign. And suburban people can and must play their part.
Remind them that their homes are mission stations
Outposts of hospitality, kindness and grace in increasingly hostile and post-Christian contexts. Orchards in which the fruits of the Spirit can be grown and shared.
Remind them that their jobs are missionary assignments
Their cubicle or corner office or school commute is a place that you as a paid Christian can’t get. In that way, they are going everyday into spaces you cannot reach. Send them as missionaries, with purpose, into those spaces.
Remind them that their money is mission ammunition
Money feels like something you don’t want to give away especially with the high cost of living in the suburbs. But if you tell them and show them how their money can blow big holes in the gates of hell, then they are more compelled.
You have to make big calls of sacrifice in the midst of surroundings designed around comfort
We continually think that the way to engage suburban people is to give in to their zeitgeist and to make following Jesus as easy and non-sacrificial as possible.
Two problems with that. One is the bible. And the second is that it doesn’t work.
Call your people to sacrifice, to serve, to risk, to resist, to be foreigners and aliens and freaks of holiness and humility.
You have to promote and celebrate advance in spaces designed for retreat
The world of the suburbs is small. Local schools, local stores. It’s great.
But the world of the gospel is large, and while people worry about its retreat at their local High School, they need to know that it is advancing in Nairobi, and Lilongwe and Lagos, and Seoul and Sydney and Singapore, and London and Loughborough and Lyon.
You have to preach and believe the scandalous gospel of grace in environments designed around performance and self-help
Like the rich young ruler, most of our people will want to justify themselves through achievement. And that is subsequently how most of us as pastors will want to measure our success in ministry too. Continue to disarm your people an yourselves through the marvelous message of grace.
The suburbs are essentially an attempt to create an alternate Kingdom. A place of peace and security here on earth. As such, it is a noble endeavor, but it does it through exclusion and not through the power of God’s grace and truth.
Breathe Kingdom of God grace and Spirit of God power repeatedly into your suburban people. They can change the world. But they will need to enlargen their worldview in order to do that. That’s why God sent you to teach them.
A Jesus for One
After talking the last couple weeks about "a Jesus is
The disciples were Jesus closest friends, if anyone knew who he was, really knew, it would be one of them. Who would you say really knows who you are?
Let's read the passage and hear about Jesus plan for His friends:
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" 19 And they answered, "John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen." 20 Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered, "The Christ of God." 21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." 23 And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God." [Luk 9:18-27 ESV]
Duane wanted to emphasize 3 clues from this passage that all point to one undeniable message: You matter to Jesus. The 3 clues were:
Jesus after this huge event teaching and feeding approximately 12,000 people, turns to His disciples and asks what Duane has called "The single most important question you can ask in your life: "Who do you say Jesus is?"
How do you think your friends, coworker, or neighbors answer this question? Why is this question so important?
the disciples answer Jesus by saying the crowds have some mixed ideas about who they believe He is. Jesus then directly asks His disciples "who do you say I am" and Peter jumps right in with the answer of "The Christ, the Savior from God." And Jesus is thrilled! (Matt 16:16)
Why do you think Jesus was so happy to hear Peter's answer? What do we learn about Jesus and God from Jesus' reaction?
Jesus goes on to elaborate on what being The Christ will really mean. In Verse 22 we see Jesus tell them the future, His plan for coming to earth. The plan, it turns out is a lot of suffering for Him and His followers.
What do you think the disciples were hoping the plan would be? Why do you think they continued following after hearing that?
In verse 24 we see Jesus tell the disciples "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. " It's a really hard statement.
What could this statement mean? How would you explain it to a friend?
Duane pointed out that there was no mistake in Jesus being sent to earth right when the Cross was becoming the en vogue means of capital punishment. It's widely considered the most painful and cruel ways to be put to death. Showing there is nothing Jesus wouldn't do for you.
What is the worst thing you've endured for a friend or family member? What insights does that give you about how Jesus felt about going to the cross for us?
Jesus does indeed suffer just for us, but He also calls on us to suffer a cost also (v 23). Duane pointed out that as life goes on, we tend to create and wear many false selves that weigh us down and hide us. God wants us to give all those up. Stop trying to save our own life with those selves.
How do you recognize a false self? How can you put to death a false self?
Jesus said we'd have to do this
What things do you find yourself battling with
Our lives are not our own, our friends, our jobs, our
Friendship, job, home, money did any of
Pray with your group, thanking God for thinking so much of us to suffer the cross for us and give us
Food is Fuel for Mission
When Jesus fed the 5,000 He was able to minister to the hearts, minds, and lives of the people. We may not be able to perform some miracle where we magically make a bunch of food, but we can use food as a tool to engage the people in our city. Take a minute and read this excerpt from Tim Chester on "party evangelism."
- Pastor Duane
Much is said of engaging with culture—much that’s right and helpful. But we must never let engaging culture eclipse engaging with people. People are infinitely variable and rarely susceptible to our sociological categories. If you want to understand a person’s worldview, don’t read a book. Talk to them, hang out with them, eat with them.
People often complain that they lack time for
Francis Schaeffer says:
Don’t start with a big program. Don’t suddenly think you can add to your church budget and begin. Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. Do what I am going to suggest. Begin by opening your home for
Join in with the cultural events in your neighborhood. The chances are food will be involved somewhere, because
This is an excerpt from Tim Chester's A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table.