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? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Who Are You? John 1:19-28//January 7, 2018

Who Are You?
John 1:19-28
Discussion Questions
January 7, 2018

1. Ryan said that Jesus came not only to introduce us to God but to introduce us to ourselves. In what ways has your relationship with Jesus shaped your identity?

2. Look at 1:20. There, John the Baptist refuses to conform to the expectations of the Levites and priests (as Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet). Whose expectations are most influential in your life? How do you resist allowing these expectations to rule your life? What alternative does Jesus give us?

3. We live in a culture that insists that we are defined by our productivity, achievement, and legacy. In contrast, John is content to live as God's voice in the wilderness (1:23), preparing the way for Jesus. How does his example challenge you? Encourage you? Are there ways your life can point people to the Jesus and His Kingdom?

4. Ryan argued that John's attitude in verse 29 does not reflect his self-loathing or self-hatred. If that's true, how could John arrive at such a radically humble view of himself? Is his view healthy?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Knowing God (John 1:15-18)

The prologue to John's gospel (1:1-18), though familiar to many, expands our understanding of who Jesus is. One preacher says, "The serious student of John will find that each time he returns to the Gospel, Christ will be a little bigger--something like Lucy's experience with the lion Aslan (the Christ symbol in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia) as she again, gazed into his large, wise face.

"Welcome, child," he said.
"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

John's prologue tells us right up front who Jesus is, which demonstrates to us that God is not hiding from us, but rather has revealed himself, made himself known in the clearest possible way. In verses 15-18

God has provided an abundant witness (1:15 & 1:17) through John the baptist and the law of Moses.
God has given us an experience of his overflowing grace (1:16)
God has shown himself to be a Self-Disclosing God. (1:18)

1. How does John the baptist provide an abundant witness to who Jesus is? Compare 1:15 with 1:1-2

2. How does the law of Moses provide an abundant witness to who Jesus is?

3. Verse 16 says that "we have all received grace upon grace", how have you experienced God's grace in your life and what has that shown you about who God is.

4. According to John 1:18 if we want to know what God is like, where should we look? As you see Jesus interacting with people in the gospels do you find your view of God challenged, expanded, corrected?

5. What do you find encouraging when you consider that Jesus has "made God known"?

6. It is often the case that when someone is interested in the Christian faith, we often point that person to the gospels as a good place to start. Given what John says in John 1:18 is that a good idea? Why?

7. For the believer it's a good idea to return to the gospels again and again. Why would John 1:18 suggest that's a good idea?