1. In verse 5 of our passage, Paul mentions that one of the results of us receiving the gospel is “obedience that comes from faith.” Where can you see this in your own life?
2. Pastor Jeremy quoted Martin Luther in reference to verse 5 who said this, “We are saved by faith alone but the faith that saves is never alone.”
3. We didn’t really get around to talking about verses 11 and 12 in the sermon but Pastor Jeremy did mention them in his benediction. Read those verses together. What difference would it make if when we gathered together we were consciously seeking to encourage others? Do you allow the faith and words of others to encourage you?
4. In what situations do you find yourself being ashamed of the gospel? How could verses 16 and 17 turn that to eagerness next time?
5. How can your life become a conduit for the gospel this week?
Easter is the single most important day in the Christian calendar. Spend some time talking about why this is true for you. Or perhaps, it isn’t the most important day, Christmas (or something else) is. Why is this?
Pastor Jeremy stated 3 areas in which we need to encounter the resurrected Christ. He said that we need to be transformed in our mind, our conscience, and our heart. 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 highlights this.
Between mind, conscience, and heart, which led you initially to embrace Jesus as your risen Lord and Saviour? Was it the evidence? Was it the weight of your sin or your need for absolution? Or was it the heart, did you emotionally approach the throne because of felt love, or your need to feel love and acceptance?
Yet, we simply can not stay in that one place as we consider the cross, nor can we assume that everyone we speak with will need to encounter the cross in the way we did. In light of that, which area, mind, conscience, and heart, do you need to explore deeper?
Here is some conversational direction for the remainder of your time together.
Say, out loud in your group, which area you need to look at deeper in your consideration of the resurrection? Mind, conscience, or heart… or a combination of several. Tell others why you feel this way and see if those who know you well would agree.
Reread 1 Corinthians 15 together.
Now, allow some time for others to speak into each person in your group. Particularly those who have been transformed by Jesus’ resurrection in an area where you have a weakness. For example, one person may be emotionally transformed by the gospel, while another may bend the knee to the Lordship of Christ because of a predominantly conscience related journey. Feed each other, pray for each other.
In the sermon this last week Pastor Jeremy took us back to first century Jerusalem at the Passover. The bustle of activity surrounding one of the biggests celebrations of the year. Not only this, but the build up to this particular passover was extraordinary. Jesus was becoming known for his fantastic miracles throughout the land and just days before he rode into Jerusalem, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus had raised Lazarus.
Jesus foretold both his death and resurrection. Let this sink in. It’s one thing to say you’re going to die, but to foretell a resurrection takes something special. To foretell ones OWN resurrection takes something devine!
Yet even knowing the end of the story didn’t change the way Jesus walked the road of triumph and suffering.
Jesus was a king who takes action. Luke 18:31 says, “31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”
Pastor Jeremy commented that Jesus was a king who was willing to give sacrificially to execute his plan. He asked, are we willing to give sacrificially as well? Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves for God’s plan? What does sacrifice look like these days in the midst of a lockdown and social distancing? Which of our personal freedoms are we willing to lay down when called on by God to flatten the curve of someone else’s rebellion against God?
Jesus was a king who was moved to action by mercy. Luke 23 recounts the trial and execution of Christ. Sometimes we are so used to the story that it’s difficult to take this personally. But read Luke 23:26-49 together, keeping in mind that everything that befell Jesus in this account is something you personally earned, yet he bore for you. He had mercy on us! How do you find yourself responding to this?
Pastor Jeremy finished with the statement that love powerful enough to transform is always painful. What if your personal safety and comfort were not the goal Jesus was pursuing? Talk about Pastor Jeremy’s statement on the reality of pain causing love, and compare that to what Paul writes in Phil. 1:29. Even if this verse only applies to the Philippian church, it still creates a category which is preferable to God… that he would bless you with suffering for his name sake. What do you think of a God who loves you enough to stretch you in painful ways? What could a truth like that be calling you to learn in a time like this?
Spend some time in prayer for each other, your community, and our Ness family. Speak the gospel into each others pain and discomfort. Call each other to a hope beyond circumstances. What do you need to confess today?
If you haven’t checked it out already, please download the Easter devotional as a follow up. We’ve linked it below.
Pastor Matt started out by sharing how the big question a group of students all wanted God to answer for them was “What is my purpose in life?”. Have you ever asked God that same question? If so, share with one another your experience in wrestling with that question in your life.
How do your non-christian family members, coworkers, or friends view Jesus? Do you know what they think of him? Share with your group some of the different views of Jesus you’ve encountered from your friends and family.
We all are experiencing or will experience in greater measures the effects of sin in our lives, in our bodies, and in the lives and bodies of the ones we love. We experience the physical deterioration of our bodies and the emotional and relational pain that sin causes in our relationships. Our prayers and our desire is for healing in all of these things, yet God allows some to be healed, and others not to and it never has to do with our obedience. We don’t earn the right to be healed. The paralyzed man in John 5 didn’t do anything to be chosen by Jesus for healing, instead in God’s sovereign wisdom and plan he was chosen for that very purpose. But God also doesn’t waste our suffering, nor does he ever leave us alone in our suffering, but in a very real way we have been chosen for suffering. Our suffering also brings God glory and he is always with us, giving us all we need to endure for his glory! Read Romans 8:18-25 together as a group. What does this passage say about suffering? What is our hope in this suffering?
Read Romans 8:26-30. What is the work of the Holy Spirit in our time of suffering? And what are God’s promises to us?
The cross of Christ ushered in God’s Kingdom on earth where we see a foretaste of the healing and deliverance he is going to bring for all of creation! Read Revelation 21:1-8. Does the hope in a renewed and restored heaven and earth give you hope? How can we encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering with the hope of Christ? Is there anyone in your group who needs to be reminded of the healing and restoration that is coming to them in Christ? Spend some time encouraging them through prayer.
Pastor Matt said, “Jesus didn’t just come to die on the cross, he also came to live for the cross!”. What are some of the things that Christ accomplished for you on the cross through his life?
Our true purpose is also found in the cross of Christ. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. What purpose has God given to each one of us who are in Christ? How can we continue to fulfill our God given purpose especially now in these trying times where social distancing is required? Share some ideas with your group.
This was our first ever, fully online service thanks to the covid-19 situation in the world. Along with this unprecedented outbreak, many people have been experiencing crushing anxiety and panic. At the very least, there has been some low level frustration at having so many good things cancelled!
But our message this week is one of hope in the midst of difficult questions and how God's law is evidence that he really cares about what we are truly focused on.
Pastor Brennan began with this question, "Why did God use Moses and not send Jesus to deliver his people out of Egypt?" Have you ever thought about this? Wouldn't Jesus have done a better job? Come to think of it, wouldn't he have done a better job than anyone who did anything throughout scripture? Why did he wait so long to come?
Has there been a time when you've felt God could have done a better job to step in to deal with your situation and suffering? How did this affect your faith? How have you worked through this with him?
If the point of God's activity is human focused then he seems to have done a pretty bad job most of the time. Yet he is all knowing, all powerful, all present, and all loving. So perhaps our perspective is just in need of an adjustment?
The law was intended to point the people to something beyond their present reality. It gave them something to look forward to, something to hope for. Read Deuteronomy 5:32-33 together. What is it drawing their attention to? Did they actually ever experience this? Why or why not?
Paul wrote in Romans 3:9-20 about the true nature of humanity and the effect of the law. How would you put these 2 things into your own words?
Read Romans 3:21-26 together. What did the law and the prophet bear witness to? What does this passage say about the timing of the coming of Christ? What does Paul note as the effect of the coming of Christ?
How do your answers to these questions spawn hope?
Finish your time together by reading through Hebrews 11:1-12:2. This is a long passage, but there is no better source of hope for us in difficult circumstances. God never promises us an easy life or one free of suffering. What he does promise is that our hope is secure in Christ!
How do you plan to let others see the hope you have in Jesus? How do you plan to serve, love, and fight against fear with truth? How can you support each other, as well as those in your immediate neighbourhood over the coming week?
In this sermon, Lorne Meisner, the Manitoba district coach for the Baptist General Conference, opened our eyes to a view into the depths of eternity.
Lorne asks, when you relate the story of your relationship with God, how far back do you go? What did he mean by this? Is this a helpful question for you in growing your view of God’s activity regarding us?
Let’s read from Ephesians 1:1-14 together to begin.
Before hearing this sermon, and reading this passage, what did you consider to be the first time God planned for the death and resurrection of Jesus? Why does it matter? What does Eph. 1:3-4 have to say about timelines?
This passage allows us a sense of wonderment as we look over the brink of time, into the depths of eternity. It also allows us to see that God’s plan sits above circumstances. Lorne said that “God does not make reactionary choices.” Reflect on this statement in light of Philippians 1:6.
Read through Ephesians 1:1-14 again. This time, take not of all the places where God is listed as the initiator, or the active one, and we are the recipient. Lorne listed 9.
What is the benefit to us in this activity of God? Walk through Romans 8:28-30. Verses 29-30 are often referred to as the Golden Chain of Redemption.
Walk through this statement together… “God is always, ALWAYS, the initiator. We are always, ALWAYS, the responder… at best.”
If this is difficult to process, honestly ask why. Lorne said that God’s goal in absolutely everything… creation, redemption, Jesus, humanity… is to manifest his glory. He is at the centre. If it wasn’t all about him, what would it be about?
Our service on Sunday closed with the doxology from Jude 1:24-25.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Remember, amen simply means ‘truth’).
This passage beautifully wraps up the themes of God’s capacity in our salvation, sanctification, and the origins of this plan from outside of time. How has this conversation grown your view of God?
How does a bigger view of God move you to worship? Should Jude 1:24-25 affect evangelism?
This message was served up by Howard Moore, a long time friend of Ness Baptist and one of our supported missionaries. His title and the main point of his message was that you have been blessed in order to be a blessing. He said that we are undoubtedly blessed, but with that blessing comes a responsibility to share it and not keep it to ourselves.
So here are a few questions for you to discuss together on the topic of blessing.
So it is safe to say that Jesus is actually the blessing we’ve received! He is beyond material blessing (the presence or the absence of it), beyond emotional, physical, or any other type of blessing, because all those blessings are simply things which he uses to point our attention toward him.
What good news this is! Just one thing is left to figure out though….
How can you be a blessing this week? How can we support those who have dedicated their lives to this work in other parts of the world? Pick one of the stories from Greater Europe Mission and spend some time praying for the work that Howard and GEM are engaged in.
After listening to Pastor Brennan's sermon on loving other with the gospel in our words, check out video #8 in our series and dig into the following questions with your group…
Setting up the discussion. First of all, please take the time to go over the weekly email. Click here if you missed it.
Second, take turns reading through the following excerpt from chapter 13 of Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt.
Whenever, I am engaging in a conversation with someone, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me. He is called “the Helper,” after all (John 14:26). “Help me slow down,” I pray. “Help me to trust you are working here in the silence. Help me to listen well—to them and to you.” In some Bible versions, “Helper” is translated as “Counselor.” So I ask the Spirit to give me the ability to hear the longings of the heart as I listen. I invite him to be the primary counselor in the midst of our time. I ask him to give me ears to hear what the real issues are, and then provide me with wisdom as to how to share the truths of Jesus in such a way that they will be good news to the other person.
I am more and more convinced that the Holy Spirit goes ahead of us, preparing people for conversations like this. This growing confidence in God as the one who saves has freed me from the pressure to be the savior for people. Our job is to be present, filled with the Spirit, and ready to listen, then open to speak as the Spirit leads.
As you grow in listening to people’s longings, also learn to listen for their overarching stories.We can share our stories in a way which is always making Jesus the hero. If we are going to speak the gospel fluently to the hearts of others, we need to listen for the dominant storylines under which others live their lives. What are their gospel stories? Who’s their hero? Let’s look at the fundamental questions or longings in each movement of the story in light of people God has put in our lives. Get familiar with them, and then, as you listen to people, listen for their answers to the questions:
Over the course of a long conversation, I shared with the woman that she was feeling shame and guilt because of her sin and her subsequent attempts to deal with it. I shared with her the story of Adam and Eve, and how they tried to deal with their sin. I continued to show her how it led them to blame each other and brought destruction in their relationships. “What you need,” I continued, “is one who can truly atone for your sin. You need someone who can handle the weight of sin, forgive you of your sin, and set you free from it, so that it no longer defines you. You need Jesus.”
I then went on to describe how Jesus willingly went to the cross to take her sin on himself. I shared how he was willing to be publicly shamed for her so that she not only could be forgiven, but also clothed in his righteousness and freed from guilt and shame. We went on and on about how the gospel brings forgiveness, healing, hope, and even love for those we’ve hurt or been hurt by.
She wanted to make things right. She wanted forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation. Jesus had good news for her. I let her know that I know and love Jesus, and that Jesus cared and was listening to her as well. She then shared how she had never been into religion, but recently she had been seeking and checking out some churches in our area. She knew she needed help and was reaching out.
In the second example, a friend was lamenting his recent job loss. Over the course of a long conversation, he admitted that his identity had been tied to his job: “without it, I’m not sure who I am anymore.” After sharing a similar situation from his own life, Jeff prodded his friend to share more about his upbringing, and learned that the young man had lost his father during his teenage years. In hearing more of the man’s story, the Spirit helped Jeff listen and realize the following:
What was his Creation narrative? “My identity is in my job because I’m looking for approval and love from my dad.” What was his Fall narrative? “My dad died and I lost my job. And even though I could get another job, I could lose it as well. Nothing is dependable. Nothing lasts. We lose dads and jobs.” What was his Redemption narrative? “I need a dad who will love me and a job well done.” What was his New Creation narrative? “I want a dad who won’t die and will be proud of my work.”
Do you see how the gospel has great news for my friend? With the Spirit’s help, I did. So I gave it to him. Both conversations are merely summarized here for the sake of brevity, and thus lack nuance and most of the words in each conversation. We’ll say again, that both are given more context and fleshed out more in Gospel Fluency . But at the end of the day, [everyone needs] the good news of Jesus shared as good news for [each of our specific areas of] pain and longing. Remember, we don’t save people. God does. We listen and learn, and then we love and share Jesus.
Just for context...
Look again at how the Apostle Paul spoke to direct areas of need and question in Acts 17:16-34
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