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: 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?