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A Story About Conquering Evil
Sermon Discussion | Luke 4:1-15
Gabe Hagstrom

We picked up Dr. Luke’s account of Jesus in chapter 4. Jesus has just been baptized by John the Baptist and glorified by the appearance of the Holy Spirit and a vocal affirmation from His father. As Jesus begins His ministry, he first is drawn out to the wilderness to confront evil.

Evil is not something we as a culture attribute to many things. Are there any evil things still in the world? What things would we as a culture consider evil?

Let’s jump back into the story and read the first part of Luke 4:

1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him,

“It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

“’He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’

11 and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Luke 4:1-15 ESV

Duane pointed out a great parallel between this episode with the devil and the episode from the very beginning of the world with Adam and Eve where it all went wrong. Where we were removed from paradise, the home we were meant for.

I.  Paradise Lost

The Bible opens with Adam and Eve in paradise (Genesis 3). They have fellowship with God and a world to enjoy. They soon encounter temptation and encouraged by Satan succumb to it. They offend God and are consequently thrown out of paradise and into the wilderness.

What do you think Paradise for Adam and Eve was like? What would your personal paradise be like?

Jesus came down to set things right and he starts by heading to the wilderness to encounter temptation and Satan and begin the work of getting us back into paradise.

Why do you think Jesus headed to the wilderness to begin his ministry? Why did Jesus subject himself to temptation and Satan at all? Why not just avoid them? Are there any other parallels between Jesus episode with Satan and Adam and Eve’s?

II.  Paradise Won

In the wilderness, Jesus fasted for 40 days allowing Himself to be tempted under the worst of circumstances. It was then that Satan started his campaign making subtle suggestions to goad Jesus into sin.

First Satan uses the temptation that brought down Adam so long ago, he suggested that Jesus eat something. He says, “if you’re the Son of God turn these rocks into bread and eat.” Using a good desire (to eat) he suggests an evil solution. Jesus uses a verse from Deuteronomy 8 to refute and overcome the temptation.

Often good desires are used to lead us to sin by accomplishing them for the wrong reasons or in a sinful way. What are some good desires that are easily twisted?

Satan attacked Jesus 3 times with different temptations, each appealing to a specific weakness we as humans have. We don’t trust God to provide, we want to be glorified and we want to be in control.

Which of those three temptations has been especially in your life this week?

Jesus used scripture to hurdle temptation, a weapon that is readily available to us today.

What can you do to arm yourself with that weapon? What can we as a community group do to encourage us all to be ready to effectively battle temptation?

God sent Jesus out to the wilderness to be tempted under the worst circumstances, knowing that His Son could handle it. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we’re told he’ll never allow us to be tempted by anything we can’t handle.

What does that tell you about our God? Looking at the temptations in your life, what does that say about you and who God made you to be?

III.  Paradise People

In Acts 10:38, we read that God was with Jesus in the wilderness when He conquered temptation in the wilderness. We’re out here in the wilderness still, destined for paradise but not there yet. We know that like Jesus, God is with us, and won’t allow us to be tempted beyond our ability.

How close does God feel when you’re being tempted? As a person destined and assured for Paradise, why are we tempted to stray from that destination?

Duane pointed to some amazing pictures of the paradise to come. A paradise that we as a community group will enjoy together.

In Revelation 21:4 and Revelation 22:1-3 we see a picture of what we’re freely given:

Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

Revelation 22:1-3 – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

What things in those pictures sound especially sweet to you this week?

Pray Together

Pray as a group, thanking Jesus for giving us paradise again, and promising to strengthen us through any and all temptations.

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The Soul of Shame
Curt Thompson

The voice of evil has a very different intention than God does. Its intention is to twist and sully the story of joy and creativity that God created the man and woman for.

The devil engages in a conversation that introduces the possibility for doubt to enter the man and woman’s mental framework. Doubt not only about God but also about their recollection of history and by extension - and more importantly - doubt about the nature of her relationship with God. As Michael Polyani has pointed out, in order for us to doubt anything, at the moment we do we simultaneously put our trust in something else. We are invariably made for faith, to operate out of a need to trust something we cannot control.

In stating flatly that the man and the woman will not die and will be like God, the serpent offers a new rendition of the truth. The implication is that God does not want you to be like him. God does not want you to have what he has. He does not want you to be as close and connected to him as you might think he does. And by further implication, therefore, you are not as important as you think. You, as it turns out, are less than you think. You. Are. Not. Enough.

 

This is an excerpt from The Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson.

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The Conquest of Evil
John Stott

It is impossible to read the New Testament without being impressed by the atmosphere of joyful confidence which pervades it, and which stands out in relief against the rather jejune religion that often passes for Christianity today. There was no defeatism about the early Christians; they spoke rather of victory. For example, ‘thanks be to God! He gives us the victory...’. Again, ‘in all these things (sc. adversities and dangers) we are more than conquerors...’. Once more, ‘God...always leads us in triumphal procession...’. And each of Christ’s letters to the seven churches of Asia ends with a special promise ‘to him who overcomes’. Victory, conquest, triumph, overcoming – this was the vocabulary of those first followers of the risen Lord. For if they spoke of victory, they knew they owed it to the victorious Jesus. They said so in the texts which I have so far quoted only in truncated form. What Paul actually wrote was: ‘he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’, ‘we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’, and ‘God...leads us in triumphal procession in Christ’. It is he who ‘overcame’, ‘has triumphed’, and moreover did it ‘by the cross’.

. . .

Secondly, he overcame the devil by totally resisting his temptations. Tempted to avoid the cross, Jesus persevered in the path of obedience, and ‘became obedient to death – even death on a cross’ (Phil. 2:8). His obedience was indispensable to his saving work. ‘For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous’ (Rom. 5:19). If he had disobeyed, by deviating an inch from the path of God’s will, the devil would have gained a toehold and frustrated the plan of salvation. But Jesus obeyed; and the devil was routed. Provoked by the insults and tortures to which he was subjected, Jesus absolutely refused to retaliate. By his self-giving love for others, he ‘overcame evil with good’ (Rom. 12:21). Again, when the combined forces of Rome and Jerusalem were arrayed against him, he could have met power with power. For Pilate had no ultimate authority over him; more than twelve legions of angels would have sped to his rescue if he had summoned them; and he could have stepped down from the cross, as in jest they challenged him to do. But he declined any resort to worldly power. He was ‘crucified in weakness’, though the weakness of God was stronger than human strength. Thus he refused either to disobey God, or to hate his enemies, or to imitate the world’s use of power. By his obedience, his love and his meekness he won a great moral victory over the powers of evil. He remained free, uncontaminated, uncompromised. The devil could gain no hold on him, and had to concede defeat.

So the victory of Christ, predicted immediately after the Fall and begun during his public ministry, was decisively won at the cross.

 

This is an excerpt from The Cross of Christ by John Stott.

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A Theology of Finances
Pastor Duane Smets

Money is a Big Issue
There are twice as many verses in the Bible devoted to money (approx. 2,350) than to faith and prayer combined. Fifteen percent of Jesus’ recorded words are about money.

“Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.” - Richard Halverson

Money is a Spiritual Issue
Consider the example of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10, "When Jesus said to Zacchaeus, 'Today salvation has come to this house.' Jesus judged the reality of this man’s salvation based on his willingness – his cheerful eagerness – to part with his money for the glory of God and for the good of others."

Also consider the example of the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew in 19:16-30, when the Rich Young Ruler “went away sad because he had great wealth” after Jesus told him his financial wealth had become a barrier to the treasure of heaven.

Glorifying God with Money (Matthew 6:19-24)
1. We are stewards of money given to us by God (1 Chron. 29:12-16; Matt. 25:14-30).

2. Willingness to part with it. Not a poverty gospel (ex. of Zacchaeus and the Ruler).

3. Willingness to partner with it, not a prosperity gospel (1 Cor. 9; 2 Cor. 9;1 Tim. 6:17-19).

4. What is money? A God given means for wise kingdom life (Prov. 10:2-4).

5. Debt is dangerous and should have a planned pay off (Rom. 13:7-8).

6. We are to exercise contentment and not financial hedonism (Phil. 4:11-13)

Money is a Family Responsibility
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." – 1 Timothy 5:8 

Money is a Church Responsibility
Common Misconceptions

1. Churches today only care about money.

2. Past church's abuse of money means no one should give to churches.

3. Churches don't need money. Only 9% evangelicals regularly give and most churches today only survive because of endowments and land ownership.

4. A report from a 2005 study by The Barna Group on "Why People Do Not Give More":

"Some people lack the motivation to give away their hard-earned money because the church has failed to provide a compelling vision for how the money will make a difference in the world.”

"Some see their giving as leverage on the future. They withhold money from the church because they do not see a sufficient return on their investment.”

"Some do not realize the church needs their money to be effective. Their church has done an inadequate job of asking for money, so people remain oblivious to the church’s expectations and potential.”

"Some are ignorant of what the Bible teaches about our responsibility to apply God’s resources in ways that affect lives.”

"Some figure they worked hard for their money and it’s theirs to use as they please. Their priorities revolve around their personal needs and desires."

The Biblical Teaching on Money and Church
1. The New Testament expects the members of the church to be regularly giving to the church.

“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up..." – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

2. We are to give and not tithe.

Tithe was an exact amount (10% in the Old Covenant Law which turned into a spiritual payment). The New Testament nowhere tells believers to "tithe."

“...arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction." – 2 Corinthians 9:5

3. Our giving is to be willingly and generous.

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

"Cheerful" in 2 Cor. 9:7 is hilaros in Greek, where we get the word "hilarious." The idea is one of above and beyond that people would think is hilarious, almost ridiculous that you would give so much. Thus, giving 10% can be a good guide but the New Testament expectation is for giving to generally be above and beyond 10%.

The poor widow's giving - "everything she had" (Mark 12:41-44)

The prostitute's giving - a year's worth of wages (John 12:3-8)

Our giving is a firstfruits, not an expendable portion of what is left over.
Proverbs 3:9 "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce."

We are to trust the church leadership with wise use of our money.

Specific instruction: the church leaders are to demonstrate financial responsibility (1 Timothy 3:3, 8)

Biblical examples:

The church leaders described in the book of Acts made the financial decisions (Acts 4:35,37; 11:29,30; 1 Tim. 3:3,8).

Avoids "spiritual purchasing" where you determine how your money is spent.

The Financial Responsibilities of Church Leadership
(1) Financially support the preaching and teaching elders.

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer deserves his wages.'” – 1 Timothy 5:17-18

“The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel." – 1 Corinthians 9:14

(2) Financially cover the operational needs of the church (2 Cor. 9:12-13).

(3) Financially support other church plants (2 Cor. 8:1-7; Phil. 4:18)

(4) Financially give to those in need/poor (Deut. 15:17; Luke 10:35-37; 12:33)

Practical Implications: Open Finances / Books
Church finances/books are open to member questioning.

Member finances/books are open to leadership questioning.

The Benefits of Giving to the Church (from 2 Corinthians 8-9):

a) Teaches us that our money comes from God's grace
b) Forms a willing and eager heart in us
c) Requires that we give ourselves to God first
d) Enables us to excel in giving
e) Produces sincerity in us
f) Points us to Jesus
g) Teaches us to evaluate our individual means (planning/budgeting)
h) Promotes equality among God's people
i) Beckons leaders to lead
j) Enables leaders to be properly cared for
k) Teaches us to trust our leaders
l) Makes us generous people
m) Teaches us good work ethic. like a harvest, the more you sow, the more you reap
n) Teaches us about joy and how to be happy through giving
o) Builds up our faith
p) Teaches us to trust in God's provision
q) Enables us to support good work
r) Exercises acts of righteousness in us
s) Causes us to thank God
t) Sustains the ministry of the church
u) Helps spread the gospel of Jesus Christ

For Further Reading:
Money, Possessions and Eternity – Randy Alcorn
The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn

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The Bible as Autobiography
Curt Thompson

One reason many people find Scripture to be so regenerative is that, fundamentally, it is a story–one told by many different voices. All of its authors were confronted by a Person. And in the course of that encounter, whether it lasted a moment or over a lifetime, each storyteller was changed by that other Voice. He or she was transformed by a God who would not be limited by left-brain, logical, linear theology; reconstructed by a God who in the beginning got his hands dirty in the soil of creation and later got them bloodied in the agony and beauty of redemption.

In the beginning, God got his hands dirty in the soil of creation.

Later, He got them bloodied in the agony and beauty of redemption.


That is why I believe that faithfully telling and listening to our stories is one of the single most important things we can do as followers of Jesus. Storytelling inevitably engages our memories–both the speakers' and the hearers'–and so opens the door to a different future. The Bible is so powerful in part because it contains the story of creation, rebellion, redemption, and recreation, all of which are told in rich, messy, beautiful, tragic, hopeful tapestry of the lives of God's ancient people.

To love God with all of our mind is to engage our entire memory, not limited parts of it. To love God means not being limited to logical sequences of systematic theology. Loving God is autobiographical. It is about remembering our past and anticipating our future. It is about a God who will not be kept at a distance but uses each of our stories to confront, terrify, comfort, convict, and woo us.

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A Story for All Mankind
Sermon Discussion | Luke 3:23-38
Sean Keefe

You may refer to the sermon here.

Since this week’s sermon was all about names, take some time to discuss the names in your group. What does your name mean? Do you know why you were named that? If you could’ve picked your own name, what would it be and why?

Read 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

In light of the passage used in the sermon, why is this verse important to remember?

Duane said if he wants us to have one takeaway from this sermon it’s this: God knows your name. You matter to God.

Is it easy or hard for you to think you matter to God? Why?

I.  Who We Are
Since we’ve been born we’ve been “filling out our names” (i.e. developing into who we are, what we love, what defines us). Do you see any connection between the meaning of your name and what defines you as a person?

When the Scriptures talk about someone’s name they are talking about the WHOLE person, their character, attributes, talents, passions, etc. In other words, your name is what makes “you” you. If you had five words (or less) to define what makes “you” you, what would they be?

Would those closest to you come up with the same words? Why or why not?
What are some significant moments of your life that have helped to define who you are?

When God looks at us, He sees everything that we are, inside and out. This can be a scary thought, but we shouldn’t be afraid. Read Isaiah 43:1. What does God truly see when He looks at us? How might this affect the way we live and interact in the world?

II.  What We Come From
The passage we read in Luke not only highlights the importance of individuals but of family lines as well. What do you know about your family line and heritage?

How have you seen that influence your life?

We know from the Scriptures that both physical and spiritual traits can get passed from generation to generation. Have you seen generational traits passed down in your family?

We are unavoidably connected with our families and how we grew up. This is why it is so important to build families that know and love God. How have you seen the presence or absence of God in your families affect the outcome of their lives?

No matter how we or our parents were raised, our hope is that God loves and blesses the lives of those who turn to Him. He hears our cries and works to heal our wounds and brokenness. Have you seen God bring healing to a brokenness or wound in you or your family’s life?

Is there still a healing you are hoping and praying for?

How can we, as a community of believers, support the healing process in each other's lives?

III.  Where Our Hope Lies
Fear, guilt, and shame have been passed to the whole human family through our first parents, Adam and Eve. But Jesus, being born of a virgin and not having the hereditary sinfulness passed on to Him, lived a life of perfect righteousness on our behalf. By His death, His life of righteousness, His very name, is given to us. Where our hope truly lies is in Jesus’ name.

What words would you use to describe the name and character of Jesus?
Since Jesus’ name and righteousness are given to us, what meaning do those words now have for our lives?

In Revelation, we learn that everyone who has ever believed in Jesus’ name had their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before this world was ever created. Does knowing this cause a response in you? How would thinking about this truth change your perspective on anything in life?

Pray for One Another
Thank God for being a God who knows us deeply yet still loves us with all His heart.

Pray for our eyes to be opened to the life-changing truth that God calls us His own, and He knows us by name.

Pray for the healing of wounds and brokenness that has been passed generationally through our families.

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2017 WOMEN'S RETREAT
August 4-6

Pay for Women's Retreat or Pay in Installments!

The Resolved Women have made it a valuable tradition to retreat away once a year together. The purpose is to refresh, be rejuvenated by restorative truths from the Word and Jesus, and to connect with other women and their stories. During the retreats we listen to wise words from great speakers, talk life in small groups, spend time in prayer, share meals together, study God's word, and of course rest and relax. 

For the 2017 retreat we have found a perfect location an hour away from San Diego that sleeps up to 80 women! A deposit, later applied to the total cost, is needed to reserve the home but, at this time, it is more than the church can financially accommodate. We would like to reserve this spot as it is simply amazing and feels like the perfect fit: tons of room, our OWN spot, close to San Diego, and so many amenities!

The ASK: Use the below link to DONATE NOW towards the final cost of your spot on the retreat. Not only does it help support early fund collection, but it allows you to pay for the retreat in installments. Our goal is $2800.

Please list your name so we know where to allocate the donation.

If you would like to donate anonymously to the general fund to support costs and scholarships please feel free to do so.

Total per person cost : $160 (includes 2 nights, 5 meals)

Feel free to give in any amount to start to get us to our $2800 deposit goal.

Location information: http://ranchomagdalena-ca.com/

"The ranch provides boundless opportunities for recreation: from its solar heated salt water pool/spa/water slide, to its tennis, sand volleyball, bocce ball, trampoline, horseshoe pits, tetherball, shuffleboard and racquetball courts, to its grand indoor theater. We have meeting/social rooms for adults and those young at heart: including a pool table, table tennis, indoor shuffleboard, and more."

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Help Us Raise Money For A New Sign!
Pastor Duane Smets

The Resolved Church moved to our permanent facility in April of 2014. It used to be a warehouse that made wind turbines for efficient energy and needed a lot of work to be converted into a church. We had an extremely small budget to work with ($15K), but with a lot of willing hands and hearts and we made it work. Due to our small budget we only had a few hundred dollars to spend on a front sign. So a general contractor in our church bought the cheapest wood he could buy, built it, had his wife paint it and then about 10 of us worked together to mount the sign. It was quite a project and had a brilliant result.

We knew it wouldn’t last forever and this year under the battering of the most rain San Diego has experienced in years, our sign has now deteriorated to the point where it is barely functional as the first signal of welcome to our church. It is now sagging in the middle, the letters are washed out and the wood has begun to turn black in many places.

People regularly show up at our church because of walking or driving by and seeing our sign. It’s important that we have a quality marker on our building so that people can find us and hopefully enter into the life our community, worshipping and following Jesus along with us. This is a great way you can be a blessing to Jesus’ church and to those who might come to know him.

We’ve contacted a sign company and we can replace our front sign with a weather proof version made with lifetime warranted materials for $3000. The only catch is our church currently doesn’t have a surplus of money we can spend on a sign so we’re asking you to help! Would you consider donating some money to help us get a new sign? Help fund a new sign for The Resolved Church!


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A STORY WORTH TALKING ABOUT
SERMON DISCUSSION | Luke 3:1-22
Gabe Hagstrom

Click here to view the sermon.

Duane returned to the pulpit this week and we resumed our excursion through Luke. Heading into chapter 3, the author Luke suddenly jumps ahead 18 years in the story to bring us to a world with an adult John the Baptist and adult Jesus. Word is starting to spread about both of them, news of their lives and teaching is spreading.

Duane pointed out that news and stories are the bulk of our conversations as social humans. We love to hear and learn about goings on.

Where do you get most of your news? Which of your friends or family gives the most trustworthy reviews?

Luke takes us through a newsworthy encounter here in chapter 3. Read it together in your group.

Luke delivers the facts here. Though he also works to make sure that as we all read this story, we get a sense of how significant Jesus arrival is in the world. Duane wanted to look at the significance here from 3 angles:

I.   Historically Significant
II.  Spiritually Significant
III. Cosmologically Significant

I.  HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT

Luke was a doctor and scholar. As we read through his account we’ll notice that Luke was meticulous and borderline pedantic as he documents Jesus life here on earth. He starts the chapter with very dry historical context and suddenly in the middle of verse 2 drop a phrase in that is significant to God’s people – “The Word of God Came to John the Baptist.” After 400 years of silence, God was again speaking to His people.

Why do you think John included so much dry historical dates and names?

“The Word of God came to…” is almost a catchphrase for his people. It’s a signifier that the story is continuing. Do we have any similar signifiers in our culture today? In our church?

400 years is a really long time for God to be silent. Only one other time had God been silent for so long – right before the amazing exodus and journey to the promised land.

Why do you think God was silent for so long? Have you ever felt like you were in a season where you couldn’t hear God? What brought you out of it? (OR what are you looking to hear from God about?)

II.  SPIRITUALLY SIGNIFICANT

John delivers God’s message of genuine repentance. Warning the people to bear fruit in their lives, not relying on words or being descendants of Abraham. He unpacks repentance for 3 specific groups:

The Crowd – Accumulating things for ourselves
Tax Collectors – Being greedy and wanting more
Soldiers – Abusing their position and being a bad steward

Which group do you most empathize with? Is there a connection between these groups?

When we’re in a genuine relationship with God we find out He’s the leader in generosity. He gives and gives in what is mostly a one-way relationship. The generosity is a stark contrast to the lives of the people listening to John.

What have you been thankful to God for this week? How have you, or do you plan to respond to God’s generosity to you?

John goes on to offer baptism, a public symbol of repentance to the people. Something we still practice in church today.

How did you decide to get baptized? (OR are you interested in getting baptized this Easter?)

III. COSMOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT

After John baptizes Jesus, we see something incredible, an appearance by all 3 persons of God- Jesus in the flesh, the voice of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. An event that is earth-shattering enough that it alone would be worth talking about thousands of years later, and the reason for that event is to highlight Jesus and get our attention as He starts His work on earth.

How would people respond to an event like that happening in the world today? How would you react?

Luke captures this story showing Jesus stepping into our world, into space and time so that “All flesh would see the salvation of God” (vs 6). A salvation that makes us righteous because we can never do enough right things to make us right.

What element of the story so far has amazed you the most? Who can you share news of your amazement with?

PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER

Pray with your group that we’d have open doors to share this story, and how it’s been on our minds, amazing us and affecting us.

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CHILDREN OF LIGHT AND TRUTH
SERMON DISCUSSION | 1 John 1:5-2:1
Pastor Ryan Buss

View the sermon here.

Read the passage. What strikes you as you read the passage? What is encouraging in this passage? What is challenging to you in your life as you read the passage?

I. Fellowship with One Another

Ryan taught us that one of the goals that John has as he is writing this letter to the church is to help the church relate well to one another. Authentic and honest relationship with each is what we long for. Why? What helps to contribute to having authentic relationships?

What inhibits authentic relationships?

Ryan observed that sin separates relationships and causes us to be spiritually blind to God and to one another. How have you experienced this in your life?

Ryan also observed that sin is born out of our desires being misdirected at the wrong things, namely the world and all that is in the world. What would it look like to have your desires directed to God? How would this change your relationships with others?

The antidote to walking in the darkness is to walk in the light. How do we do that? Why would this help to foster authentic and real relationships with one another?

II. Fellowship with God

The other goal of the letter that John is writing to the church is to help foster intimate relationship with God in truth. John eagerly desires that the eternal life that we have in Christ be lived out in this life as well, and that this kind of life is born out of a relationship with God. However, since sin separates and blinds, it causes a disruption in our intimacy with Christ. We need to learn how to stop sin as it buds in our hearts. How do we recognize when sin is budding in our hearts?

If confession was the habit that Ryan focused on for the first point, self-examination is the habit that he focused on for the second point. What kinds of attitude or mindset goes into cultivating a habit of self-examination? What is the purpose for self-examination?

Ryan shared three subtle sins that he struggles with and went into the heart behind each sin to help demonstrate how sin begins in the heart. The three were “ingratitude”, “impatience”, and “anxiety”. Do you struggle with those? What does that look like? What other subtle sins can you recognize being a source of temptation for you in your relationship with Christ and with others?

How do you know when you are being tempted in those ways? How would others know when you are acting out of those sins?

The goal of confession and self-examination is to foster healthy, authentic relationship with Christ and one another. Why would that be important for us as a church as we seek to engage all people this year?

III. Pray for each other!