Tuesday, March 20, 2018

John 5:19-29: Honor the Son

John 5:19-29  Honor the Son” (courtesy Jeff Klinger)

1.     Review from last week:  Why were the Jews “upset” after Jesus healed the man who was lying by the pool of Bethesda?
2.     What part of Jesus’ teaching particularly impressed Leo Tolstoy?  What action did Tolstoy take to honor Jesus’ teaching?  What evidence did Ryan give that made him think that Tolstoy honored Jesus’ teaching but did not honor Jesus, the Person?
3.     Is it possible that you as an evangelical Reformed Christian live by a coherent world view and moral framework to live and raise your children but do not honor Jesus, the Person?  What can you do about it?
4.     In what two ways do we see Jesus joining and enjoying his relationship with the Father?
5.     Ryan used his imagination to flesh out how Jesus might have reminisced about growing up with his “earthly father” Joseph.  Where did they work and what might have that been like?
6.     Jesus love for the Father drew him into the family business, Kingdom business.  What ultimately did that mean for Jesus?
7.     Where in the first chapter of John does it say that you become part of God’s family?
8.     Trivia.  Hopkins says that Christ plays in _________ (how many places)?
9.     From this passage Ryan said that Jesus receives two things from his role from the Father:  what are they?
      The Jews of Jesus’ day were correct in their understanding that there would be a final judgment, but they had one important thing wrong! What was it?
      What claim does Jesus make about himself in John 5: 21, 25 -26?

      What title from Daniel 7:9 does Jesus use for himself when confronting the Jews?  What can be understood from that title?

      Jesus will be the judge. You will receive life or judgment.  Is there a third option?

      What two kinds of people will come out of the tombs when they hear Jesus’ voice? Verse 29

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

John 5:1-18: Hanging Around Betheda

1. Re-read John 5:1-18. Is there one detail that jumps out as significant? Why?

2. When Ryan suggested we are 'all hanging around Bethesda,' what did he mean? What 'pools' in our society promise healing that fail to deliver on the promise? Are there specific ones you often run to when you need to find healing?

3. Jesus tells us that our biggest problem is sin (verse 14). Are there problems in our lives that often seem much bigger? More threatening? Why is it comforting to remember that Jesus has taken care of our biggest problem ?

4. Why were the Jews furious at Jesus? What did He say and do that offended them?

5. The Irish poet, Thomas Moore, suffered from a multitude of problems throughout his life: he lost his fortune through mismanagement; he lost all five of his children to disease; and he lost his physical and mental abilities due to a stroke late in life.  His best-known hymn contains these words:

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel:
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish:
Earth has no sorrows that heav’n cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, in mercy saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”

How do these words shed light on the meaning of this passage? 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

John 4:1-26: A Master Class on Grace (February 19, 2018) -- discussion questions

John 4:1-26
Discussion Questions

1. What do we learn from Jesus about grace in this passage?

2. How does God's grace lead us to refuse the recognition we believe we deserve? Give an example of how grace might compel us to refuse the rights we believe we deserve? Within a marriage? In the workplace? 

3. What cultural lines does Jesus cross in this encounter? Are there similar lines in our own culture (even our Christian sub-culture) that we should cross for the sake of grace? 

4. Why is it so difficult to cross lines for the sake of grace and, at the same, draw lines for the sake of moral clarity? Can both be done for the good of the person we are talking to? How? 

5. Francis Schaeffer once wrote: “We should not be surprised when someone demonstrates he is a sinner because, after all, we know that all of us are sinners.  When someone sits down to talk with me, I should convey to him (even if I do not express it in words) the attitude that he and I are both sinners. And immediately, when I communicate this perception, a door swings open for dialogue.  Nothing will help you as much in meeting people, no matter how far out they are or how caught they are in the modern awfulness, than for them to perceive in you the attitude “we are both sinners.”  This does not mean that we minimize sin, but we can still exhibit that we understand him because we stand in the same place.  We can say “us” rather than just “you,” To project shock as though we are better slams the door shut.  Each of us does not need to look beyond himself to know that men and women are sinners.”

What do you think of this statement? How does it relate to this passage? 

6. What obstacles keep us from longing for grace? Or learning grace from Jesus? 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Rescue: John 3:16-21 // Feb. 11, 2018

Rescue (John 3:16-21): Discussion Questions

1. Do you remember watching the Baby Jessica rescue on TV? If you need a refresher, here's a grainy video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKfz3jFVLME. Why was that such an emotional moment for so many? What does it teach us about the power of rescue? 

2. Commenting on John 3:16, theologian B.B. Warfield wrote, "[It’s not so much] that the world is so big that it takes a great deal of love to embrace it all, but that the world is so bad that it takes a great kind of love to love it at all." How does this help you see God as the great rescuer? 

3. Why are we often so ignorant of the grave danger we are in without Jesus? What does this passage say about our dire situation? 

4. How does Jesus' promise to give you 'eternal life' encourage you today? 

5. In verse 21, Jesus says that those who live in line with the truth of the Gospel enter the light. Why are they able to do so, when others hide in the darkness? What is it about our identity in Christ that liberates us to 'live in the light,' as it were? 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Happy Birthday to You :: John 3:1-8 :: 2/4/18

1. Re-read John 3:1-8. What stands out to you in this passage? What challenges you? What questions does it raise?

2. Why don't we celebrate our spiritual birthdays as extravagantly and joyfully as our natural birthdays? What difference would it make if we did? 

3. Jesus' response to Nicodemus in verse 3 reminds us that every other major religion will tell you that salvation depends on something you do for God. Like following the rules. Or obeying the Law. Or fulfilling your duty. But Jesus insists salvation depends entirely on something God for you AND to you, specifically giving you a new birth, through Jesus. Why is this such a revolutionary idea for Nicodemus? For you? 

4. The late R.C. Sproul once wrote: “To be regenerated does not mean that we are changed from a human being into a divine being. It does mean that we are changed from spiritually dead human beings into spiritually alive human beings.” Is this a new idea for you? If so, how does it challenge your idea about salvation? If not, how does it increase your gratitude to God for your salvation? 

5. In your own words, what is Jesus saying about God the Holy Spirit in verse 8 and following? How does this metaphor explain spiritual birth? 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Will the Real Temple Please Stand Up? John 2:13-22 1/28/18

1. When Jesus clears out the Temple, He removes the things that were distracting God's people from real worship of God. What were those things, according to John (verses 14 and 15)? Why were those activities distracting? Share your personal "worship-distracters" with each other. What is one practical step you can take to remove that distraction from your worship life.

2. Jesus is also removing the divisions that exist because of the supermarket in the Temple. In Mark's Gospel account of Jesus' second temple cleansing, Mark tells us that Jesus quoted Isaiah 56 to those selling the marketplace. Read Isaiah 56:1-8. What does this passage tell us about God's purpose for the Temple? Who was meant to be included? How were these people excluded by the selling and exchanging the Outer Court (or Court of the Gentiles)? Are there ways that we, as individuals or as a church, exclude certain kinds of people, either intentionally or unintentionally?

3. Is there someone you know who you believe would not feel welcome at Covenant? Why? Is that a valid barrier or one that needs to be removed? How can you help remove it?

4. John tells us that Jesus is zealous to see His Father's house honored by His people, namely by giving their unhindered devotion and worship to the Lord. Therefore, He is clearing out the Temple to wipe out any rival suitors for their affections. Why would Jesus do that? Read Exodus 34:11-16. What does that say about God's commitment to having your complete allegiance, devotion, and worship?

5. How have you experienced Jesus wiping out rivals in your own heart? How has He topple your idols?

6. Jesus ultimately does more than clear the Temple; He replaces it. Re-read John 2:18-22 and brainstorm together how Jesus, as your Savior, fulfills everything that Temple provided God's people. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Follow Jesus: John 1:35-51 (Jan. 14 2018)

Follow Jesus: John 1:35-51 (Jan. 14 2018)
Discussion Questions

1) What do you think it means to follow Jesus?

2) Take some time to discuss the various titles that are bestowed on Jesus in this passage: What does it mean? What about it makes you grateful?

  • Verse 36: Lamb of God
  • Verse 41 & 45: Messiah
  • Verse 49: Son of God
3) Why is Jesus' question in verse 38 significant? 

4) Compare John 1:42 with Revelation 2:17 and 3:5. What do these passage tell us about Jesus' authority over us and His affection for us? 

5) Have you ever asked the question Nathanael asks in verse 47, "Lord, how do you know me?" Does the answer to that question move your heart to worship Jesus? What about Jesus' response in v. 48? 

6) Ryan suggested two practical applications of this passage: Seek Jesus! and Share Jesus! Both occur in this passage. Which is a greater challenge for you? Why? What is one step you can take to either seek or share Jesus?