The Narrowing Effect of Following Jesus

The Narrowing Effect of Following Jesus
John 12:1-26

  1. As revealed in Jesus’ visit to Lazarus’ house (12:1-11).
    1. The broader view of the Christian life: good deeds.
    2. The proper view of a follower of Christ: a strong commitment to the message of Christ’s love and redemption for the world.
  2. As revealed in the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem (12:12-19).
    1. The broader view of the Christian life: interested in “the intermittent experience.”
    2. The proper view of a follower of Christ: surrender to His rule and reign as King.
  3. As revealed in Jesus’ words (12:20-26).
    1. The broader view of the Christian life: knowing more about Jesus.
    2. The proper view of a follower of Christ: forsaking all to follow Jesus.
  4. Conclusion: How does this better instruct me in the vision of the church? How does this better form my role as a part of the Body of Christ?

Discussion Questions for Further Study:

  1. Jesus Anointed at Bethany – John 12:1-11
  2. When have you indulged another person with an expensive gift? How did you feel? How did they feel?
  3. If you have a year’s wages, on what would you spend it?
  4. How do you deal with the tension of helping people in need while enjoying your wealth and possessions?
  5. When did Jesus arrive in Bethany? (John 12:1)
  6. What was done in honor of Jesus in Bethany? (John 12:2)
  7. What did Mary do to Jesus? (John 12:3)
  8. How did Judas respond to Mary’s act? (John 12:4-5)
  9. What motivated Judas’s response to Mary’s act? (John 12:6)
  10. Why did Jesus say that Mary had anointed Him with perfume? (John 12:7)
  11. What did Jesus say about the poor? (John 12:8)
  12. Why did the large crowd come to Mary and Martha’s home? (John 12:9)
  13. What did the chief priests plan to do? (John 12:10)
  14. They were going to kill Lazarus too. Do you see the irony?
  15. Here is a great outline of John 11 and 12…
    1. Lazarus was dead – John 11:14, 39 – who can tell the story of YOUR death, and coming to life?
    2. Lazarus was disabled – John 11:44 – in what ways have you been disabled, unable to life as God intends for you?
    3. Lazarus was dangerous – John 12:10-11 – when have you been this dangerous to the adversary? Is this your desire, to be evangelistically and great commission inclined?
  16. What motive did the chief priests have? (12:11)
  17. If you had a dinner in honor of Jesus, who would you invite?
  18. How do you worship Jesus with your resources?
    1. Have you developed the habit of tithing?
    2. Does anyone have the gift of giving?
  19. What concern should we have for the poor among us?
  20. What are your thoughts on the guys at intersections with cardboard signs?
  21. When have you helped due a compelling story but later realize you had been duped?
  22. In what way can we help those less fortunate than ourselves?
  23. What organizations do you support, or with which you volunteer?
    1. When/how do we know if what we are doing is helping the poor?
    2. Do we give them what they ask for or give them what they need?
  24. Why are there poor people?
  25. Can poorness be cultural? Self-perpetuating? A preferred lifestyle? A rut into which a generation will not get out?
  26. What did Jesus mean when he said the poor are always with us?
  27. How do we selfishly use God’s resources for our own pleasure?
  28. What about missions and benevolence?
  29. Do we/you sacrifice in giving or give out of your/our excess?
  30. When have we masked our own selfishness with the appearance of concern for others?
  31. How can you worship and honor God with your resources today?
  32. When have you been the most dangerous to Satan, our enemy?
  33. How is your budget a reflection of your spiritual priorities?
  34. How can you help someone less fortunate than yourself this week?
  35. If you had a year’s salary to spend on the kingdom of Christ, what would it be?
  36. What impure motives do you need to confess to God and ask Him to purify?

A Conspiracy to Stop the Gospel

A Conspiracy that Could Not Stop the Gospel
John 11:45-57

  1. What was this conspiracy? John 11:45-48
  2. What did this conspiracy attempt to accomplish? John 11:49-50
  3. How did this affect the gospel? John 11:51-54
  4. What does this mean for the church? for Me?

Questions for Further Study:

  1. Without naming names, who is the most dishonest and self-serving person you’ve ever known?
  2. What examples of selfishness do you see in a typical day?
  3. How do you deal with problem people in your life?
  4. How did many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary respond to Jesus’ miracle? (John 11:45)
  5. Who was told about Jesus’ miracle? (John 11:46)
  6. What did the Sanhedrin fear? (John 11:47-48)
  7. What did Caiaphas say about Jesus? (John 11:49-50)
  8. How did Caiaphas prophesy? (John 11:51-52)
  9. What did the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin plot to do? (John 11:53)
  10. How did Jesus respond to the Sanhedrin’s plot? (John 11:54)
  11. Why did many people go to Jerusalem? (John 11:55)
  12. For whom did the people in Jerusalem look? (John 11:56)
  13. What orders had the chief priests and Pharisees given to the people? (John 11:57)
  14. What motive other than ministry might people have for engaging in Christian service?
  15. What personal ambitions might subvert the goal of serving God and others in Christian organizations?
  16. When have you intentionally or unintentionally used the church to pursue your own agenda?
  17. Why is it so difficult to have pure and selfless motives in life?
  18. How do you respond when your goals and your motives conflict with one another?
  19. How might Christianity be challenged or threatened by Jesus if He were to come back today?
  20. How would you tell a self-centered person the gospel message?
  21. What self-centered motive will you ask God to help you change?

Jesus is Life

Jesus is Life
John 11:1-46

Principle #1: The Good that Jesus Brings is not limited by Your Present Situation. (John 11:1-5)
The Application: Don’t give up on God.
What determines your situation?
People?
Predicament?
Promise?

Principle #2: The human reasoning of your present circumstance should always stand contested by faith in Christ. (John 11:6-16)
Application: Trust Jesus even when it doesn’t make sense.
…When His timing doesn’t always make sense
…When following Him is not always comfortable or safe
…When problems seem so irreversible
…When there always seems to be a battle to fight

Principle #3: The Truth of Christ is the only way to respond to a crisis of belief. (John 11:17-27)
Application: When in doubt, hold tight to your relationship with Jesus Christ.
DOUBT: Circumstance and Culture
BELIEF: Jesus

Principle #4: The compassion of Christ is stronger than your deepest sorrow. (John 11:28-37)
Application: Confess your inability to deal with “this” on your own, and fall before the Savior.
Urgency
Openness
Comfort

CONCLUSION: If the Truth of Christ raised a dead man, what will His Truth do for you? (John 11:38-44)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What do the people you know fear most in life?
  2. What sort of miracle would be the most spectacular to witness?
  3. How did Jesus feel when He went to Lazarus’s tomb? (John 11:38)
  4. In what type of tomb was Lazarus buried? (John 11:38)
  5. What did Jesus tell the others to do? (John 11:39)
  6. How did Martha respond to Jesus’ request? (John 11:39)
  7. How did Jesus show Martha the importance of her belief? (John 11:40)
  8. What did Jesus do before He called to Lazarus? (John 11:41-42)
  9. What did Jesus say to the Father? Why? (John 11:41-42)
  10. How did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? (John 11:43-44)
  11. What did Lazarus do when Jesus called to him? (John 11:44)
  12. What did Jesus tell the people to do? (John 11:44)
  13. When have you been deeply moved?
  14. Under what circumstances have you doubted the power of God?
  15. When have you had faith in God’s ability to work out an impossible situation?
  16. What is one miracle God has done in your life?
  17. How does God show His glory to us?
  18. In what way has God shown His glory to you?
  19. In what way has God “raised you from the dead”?
  20. If you had been there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, how do you think you might have responded?
  21. What specific situation do you need to trust God to work out in your life?
  22. For what “miracle” do you want to thank God today?
  23. What can you do today so that others might believe in Jesus?

Gear Up for the Game

[ The opening video illustration was purchased from BluefishTV ]

Gear Up for the Game
2 Peter 1:1-11

GOD’S PLAN FOR VBS

  1. Jesus Cares About Me (Luke 15:1-7) Romans 5:8
  2. Jesus Gives Me Hope (John 11:1-44) John 11:25
  3. Jesus Helps Me to Believe (John 20:19-31) John 20:29
  4. Jesus Loves Me (John 13:1-35, 19:25-27, 20:1-10, 21:1-14) 1 John 3:1a
  5. Jesus Gives Me Joy (Acts 16:23-34) Psalm 95:1

GOD’S PLAN FOR LIFE

  1. God Rules: The Bible tells us that God created everything, including you and me, and he is in charge of everything (Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16-17)
  2. We Sinned: Since the time of Adam and Eve, everyone has chosen to disobey God (Romans 3:23). The Bible calls this sin. Because God is holy and cannot tolerate sin, we have a problem. Sin is that which separates up from God, no matter how hard we try to reach him. We deserve punishment and death (Romans 6:23).
  3. God Provided: To deal with our sin problem, God provided a way to forgive sin. Sin could not just be forgiven and swept under the rug, it has to be paid for. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve and could never pay on our own. Jesus saves us (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9).
  4. Jesus Gives: Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead. Since he gave up his life for us, we can be welcomed into God’s forever family. This is the best gift ever (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18).

What can I do now? Learn Your ABCs

  1. Admit to God that you are a sinner. Tell God you messed up and are sorry for doing your own thing. Repent, and turn away from your sin and turn to God. Stop doing bad things and start doing good things. Turn to Jesus, the only one who can save you.
  2. Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and receive his free gift of forgiveness from sin. Only Jesus can save us from our sin problem. Not even praying, going to church, or reading your Bible can save you. We trust in Jesus, his death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead to bring salvation.
  3. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Tell God and then tell others what you believe about Jesus. When Jesus is your Savior, you are trusting in him only for your salvation. He is your Savior and he is your Lord, Boss, and Master. You follow him because of what we read in the Bible. We are born again into new life and will be with God forever (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

GOD’S GAME PLAN FOR YOU

  1. The Christian Life Begins with Faith (2 Peter 1:1–4)
    1. This faith is in a person (2 Peter 1:1–2) – not belief in a set of doctrines.
    2. This faith involves God’s power (2 Peter 1:3)
    3. This faith involves God’s promises (2 Peter 1:4)
  2. Faith Results in Spiritual Growth (2 Peter 1:5–9)
    1. The Path of Diligence – Positive Progression (2 Peter 1:5-8)
      1. We Must not only believe, we must behave (2 Peter 1:5a)
      2. We Must not only have integrity, we must be informed (2 Peter 1:5b)
      3. We Must not only be taught, we must be temperate (2 Peter 1:6a)
      4. We Must not only be in possession, we must be patient (2 Peter 1:6b)
      5. We Must not only be good, we must be godly (2 Peter 1:6c)
      6. We Must not only be holy, we must be helpful (2 Peter 1:7a)
      7. We Must not only be liberal (in kindness), we must be lovable (2 Peter 1:7b)
    2. The Path of Delusion – Negative (2 Peter 1:9)
  3. Spiritual Growth Brings Practical Results (2 Peter 1:10–11)
    1. Steadfastness (2 Peter 1:10a) – be all the MORE diligent about your calling and his choosing you.
    2. Stability (2 Peter 1:10d) – You will never stumble.
    3. Salvation (2 Peter 1:11) – Entrance into the eternal kingdom of Jesus, will be fully supplied.

The Bottom Line:

  1. Don’t just sit in the stadium – you are not a spectator. Church is not a spectator sport.
  2. Don’t dress out and just sit on the sidelines – be ready to get in the only game that counts.

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What character qualities do you find most attractive in other people?
  2. What do people often do to “grow” intellectually, culturally, or in some similar way?
  3. If you could be better at one thing, what would you want to improve?
  4. Who wrote 2 Peter? (2 Peter 1:1)
  5. To whom was 2 Peter written? (2 Peter 1:1)
  6. What did Peter say had been given to his audience? (2 Peter 1:3)
  7. How do God’s people benefit from the promises God has given them? (2 Peter 1:4)
  8. What did Peter urge his readers to add to their faith? (2 Peter 1:5-7)
  9. How did Peter encourage his audience? (2 Peter 1:5-7)
  10. What would be the result of possessing godly character in increasing measure? (2 Peter 1:8)
  11. What happens to the person who does not possess godly qualities? (2 Peter 1:9)
  12. What did Peter want his audience to be eager to do? Why? (2 Peter 1:10-11)
  13. What happens when we pursue the qualities Peter described? (2 Peter 1:11)
  14. How equipped do you feel for life and godliness?
  15. What is the relationship between knowledge of God and Christ and spiritual growth?
  16. Which of the character qualities that Peter listed do you find the most difficult to practice?
  17. Which of the qualities listed by Peter do you consider to be the most important to add to your faith? Why?
  18. What does it mean to be ineffective and unproductive?
  19. How can the qualities Peter mentioned keep us from being ineffective and unproductive?
  20. Why is it easy to forget what God has done for us?
  21. How can someone make his or her calling and election sure?
  22. Which of the qualities listed do you want most to add to your faith?
  23. How will you add a godly quality to your faith today?
  24. What steps will you take in order to make your calling and election sure?
  25. What steps will you take this week to make your faith more effective and productive?