A Life That Follows Him

How Should We Respond to Jesus?
A Life That Follows Him
John 1:35-51

7 Facts about Following Jesus

  1. Following Jesus is more about who Jesus is than about what you do? (John 1:35-36) “Behold” has the idea of gazing intently for consideration.
  2. Following Jesus is foundational to every spiritual activity. (John 1:37) They heard and followed, indicating a completed action.
  3. Following Jesus always involves two key responses: (John 1:38-39)
    1. Turning – take a look, come find out, come and see, is Jesus a person worth following?
    2. Remaining – the call is to leave the past and move toward the future; today’s attrition rate is overwhelming, people don’t remain with Jesus.
  4. Following Jesus is always missional. (John 1:40-41) How does your faith show and shine?
  5. Following Jesus is a journey of spiritual growth. (John 1:42-46) Jesus saw Peter for who he would become, not just for who he was. If you are not growing, you are not following. Come as your are, knowing you are not mature.
  6. Following Jesus requires coming as you are. (John 1:47-50)
  7. Following Jesus is validated by the fullness of Christ’s identity. (John 1:51) As a shepherd calls his sheep, they hear his voice, regroup, and follow their shepherd; even in the midst of distress, danger, and discouragement.

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What gets you excited or enthusiastic?
  2. How would you feel if a good friend abandoned your friendship in favor of someone else?
  3. What nicknames have you had over the years?
  4. Who besides Jesus had disciples? (John 1:35)
  5. What did John say when he saw Jesus? (John 1:36)
  6. How did John identify Jesus for his disciples? (John 1:37)
  7. What did John’s disciples do when John identified Jesus? (John 1:37)
  8. What did Jesus ask John’s disciples? (John 1:38)
  9. What did John’s disciples call Jesus? (John 1:38)
  10. What did John’s disciples ask Jesus? (John 1:38)
  11. What was the first thing Andrew did after he had followed Jesus? (John 1:40)
  12. Who was Andrew’s brother? (John 1:40)
  13. What did Andrew tell his brother about Jesus? (John 1:41)
  14. What nickname did Jesus give to Simon? (John 1:42)
  15. What words did the author interpret for us? (John 1:37, 41, 42)
  16. What does it mean to follow Jesus?
  17. What hinders us from following Jesus?
  18. What must we leave to follow Jesus?
  19. To what friends and relatives could you introduce Jesus?
  20. How can we spend time with Jesus to get to know Him better?
  21. Whom do you want to introduce to Jesus this week?
  22. How could you introduce Christ to a friend or relative?
  23. What change in your daily routine would enable you to follow Jesus better?

Real Life Revealed

Real Life Revealed
John 1:19-34

Now that Jesus is revealed, there are two necessary responses:

  1. THE EVERYDAY: a proper disposition of one’s life. (1:19-28)
    Three attitudes we cannot avoid:

    1. self-denial
    2. humility
    3. reverence
  2. THE ETERNAL: a proper recognition of His life. (1:29-34)
    Three truths we cannot miss:

    1. the answer to sin
    2. the fullness of life
    3. the promise of God’s personal presence with His own through the Holy Spirit.

Ken Quotes:

  1. Knowing Jesus is not based on knowledge, but how we follow him.
  2. If we know him well, our lives will tell.

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. Why do people enjoy boasting about themselves and their accomplishments?
  2. Why is it hard to be humble?
  3. What are the characteristics of a humble person?
  4. What function do initiation rites serve in a club or society?
  5. What can you infer about someone from his or her title (such as Doctor, Professor, or Prince)?
  6. What did the Jews want to know? (John 1:19)
  7. Who did the Jews think John was? (John 1:20-21)
  8. What did John say about who he was? (John 1:20-22)
  9. In what way was John a “voice of one calling in the desert”? (John 1:23)
  10. What does the phrase “make straight the way for the Lord” mean? (John 1:23)
  11. How did John “make straight the way for the Lord”? (John 1:23)
  12. Why did the Pharisees care that John was baptizing people? (John 1:24)
  13. What did John say he was not worthy to do? (John 1:27)
  14. Who did John say was coming after him? (John 1:27)
  15. Where did these events take place? (John 1:28)
  16. Why did John call Jesus the Lamb of God? (John 1:29)
  17. What are the sins of the world? (John 1:29)
  18. What does Jesus do with the sins of the world? (John 1:29)
  19. What did John mean that Jesus surpassed him because He was before him? (John 1:30)
  20. How was Jesus before John? (John 1:30)
  21. Why did John say he didn’t know who Jesus was? (John 1:31)
  22. What reason did John give for baptizing Jesus? (John 1:31)
  23. Why did John come to baptize people? (John 1:31)
  24. What creature represented the Spirit of God? (John 1:32)
  25. Why did the Spirit come down upon Jesus? (John 1:33)
  26. With what did John baptize? (John 1:31, 33)
  27. With what will Jesus baptize? (John 1:33)
  28. What title did John ascribe to the person he baptized? (John 1:34)
  29. In what ways can you honor Christ with your accomplishments?
  30. How can we point others to Christ?
  31. In what situations is it difficult for you to be humble?
  32. If you had been John how would you have felt about your role?
  33. In what ways is your life like John’s?
  34. What special or unique means has God given you to share His Word?
  35. What sin of yours has Jesus taken away?
  36. How do we receive the forgiveness that Christ bought for us?
  37. In what way do you share Jesus’ identity as a child of God?
  38. What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life?
  39. How does Jesus baptize us?
  40. In what way can you be a voice for Jesus?
  41. What are some areas in which you struggle to be humble at this time in your life?
  42. In what specific ways can you point others to Christ this week?
  43. How can you honor Jesus’ Sonship with your life this week?
  44. What steps can you take to appreciate better who Jesus is?
  45. In what way can you reveal Christ to others this week?

Real Life Defined

WHO IS JESUS? – Real Life Defined
John 1:1-18

Real life defined by: The Foundational Truth

Who is Jesus? Life, Light, Grace, Truth, Power, Creator, Sent with a Purpose, Adoption through Reception.

  • The Supremacy of Christ. (John 1:1-2) he is a person not a principle, near not distant.
  • Why should I trust Him with my life? The Source of Life. (John 1:3-5)
    • Materially – creation / made by him (1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16)
    • Spiritually – Life and Light – John 1:4 is past tense, while John 1:5 is present tense.

Real life defined by: The Historical Truth

  • The truth of Jesus has always stood greater than the personalities of history. (John 1:6-9) John reflects the light, he is not the light.
  • The truth of Jesus has always demanded a response from the lives of mankind throughout history. (John 1:10-13)
    • Rejection – familiarity can blind us to the truth and we don’t see his supremacy.
    • Reception – we are adopted into the family, not by Jewish descent.

Real life defined by: The Personal Truth

  • We engage with His glory. (John 1:14-15)
  • We experience His mercy. (John 1:16-17)
  • We enjoy His presence. (John 1:18)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What are some of the slang expressions you used growing up?
  2. In what ways are words different from visual images?
  3. Why does John’s gospel start at creation rather with the birth story?
  4. What are some facts about the Word we discover in John 1:1-5?
  5. Who is the Word? (John 1:1)
  6. What is the relationship between the Word and God? (John 1:1-2)
  7. What was the Word’s role in creation? (John 1:3)
  8. How is the “life” the light of men? (John 1:4)
  9. What was John’s role in relation to the light? (John 1:6)
  10. How did the light give light to every person? (John 1:9)
  11. Why didn’t the world recognize the light? (John 1:10)
  12. What is the benefit of receiving or believing in the Word? (John 1:12)
  13. How and why did the Word make His dwelling among us? (John 1:14)
  14. Whose glory did the Word reveal? (John 1:14)
  15. What did God give us through Moses? (John 1:17)
  16. What did God give us through Jesus? (John 1:18)
  17. Why is it significant that no one has seen God but “God the One and Only”? (John 1:18)
  18. Why did the Word become flesh and live among us?
  19. How does a person receive the Word?
  20. What happens when we receive or believe in the Word?
  21. In what way can you receive or welcome Christ into your life?
  22. What insights can you gain from seeing Jesus as God’s Word?
  23. How should being a child of God affect our lives?
  24. In what way is John an example for us to follow?
  25. How did Jesus reveal God’s glory to us?
  26. What do you need to do to be certain of your relationship with God?
  27. What will you do this week to better enjoy your status as a child of God?
  28. How should the reality that God became a man affect your life today?
  29. Where are you keeping Jesus?
    1. Is he a resident in your dwelling?
    2. Is he standing in the front hall?
    3. Is he kept in the parlor or living room?
    4. Are there rooms where he is uninvited?
    5. Does he possess the keys to the dwelling?

Two Resolutions – Bethlehem Forward

Bethlehem Forward, Part Two
1 John 1:5-10

  1. Two Resolves from Bethlehem Forward (1 John 1:5)
    1. There is no article in front of “light” – he is not A light nor is he THE light, he is LIGHT.
    2. Cross reference to 2 Corinthians 4:6, Hebrews 1:3
  2. Reconciled to the Light (1 John 1:6-7)
    1. “If we say” refers to a CLAIM. You can’t just claim to be OK with God, there is more to your salvation than that.
    2. “If we say” is a singular event, but “walk” is something continuously. There is a conditional IF/THEM clause. They go together.
    3. “Fellowship with one another” refers to community, connection, cleansing.
    4. Cross reference to John 8:12, 12:35, 13:34-35, 1 John 2:9, 4:12.
  3. Reconciled to the Savior (1 John 1:8-10)
    1. “Have no sin” refers to not the principle of sin but to specific individual sins.
    2. “Confess our sins” refers to my personal and specific sins, not a general sinfulness.
    3. Confession – living a life of brokenness.

Ask yourself whether you are attending or connecting. Are you in fellowship with one another? If not, you’re not doing Christianity right.

Questions for Further Discussion

  1. Why might it be hard for someone to admit that he or she was wrong about something?
  2. About what do we tend to deceive ourselves?
  3. When and why might someone need an attorney?
  4. What message did the writer hear and declare? (1 John 1:5)
  5. What inconsistency did John address? (1 John 1:6)
  6. What results from “walking in the light”? (1 John 1:7)
  7. How were some believers apparently deceiving themselves? (1 John 1:8)
  8. What is the result of confessing one’s sins? (1 John 1:9)
  9. In what way can a person make God out to be a liar? (1 John 1:10)
  10. What do you think the terms “light” and “darkness” represent?
  11. In what way is God similar to light?
  12. In what ways do we “walk in darkness”?
  13. How can we “walk in the light”?
  14. How does the promise of being purified from all sin make you feel?
  15. Why would someone claim that he or she was without sin?
  16. What can you do to make yourself spiritually clean?
  17. What role does the confession of sins play in your daily life?
  18. How important is fellowship with other believers to you?
  19. What steps will you take this week to walk in the light?
  20. What will you do to incorporate the confession of sins into your daily routine?

Four Steps – Bethlehem Forward

BETHLEHEM FORWARD, PART 1
John 1:1-4

Four Steps from Bethlehem forward:

Know Jesus as the Word of Life (1 John 1:1-2)
(The Word of life is the key purpose of this passage)

Foundation – John 14:1-6
General – Hebrews 1:1-2
Personal – Isaiah 40:13 – Our God is not a silent God
We move from the mind of God to possess the mind of Christ – 1 Corinthians 2:16
Do we settle for soundbites about Jesus or are we consumed with Jesus?

Live out the significance of the message (1 John 1:2-3)
(The term “declare” is the key verb of this passage)

Announcement from a special source (1 John 1)
Announcement that is special (Luke 2)
The Good Tidings of Luke 2 causes us to DECLARE the message to others.

Engage the Relationships (1 John 1:3)
(Christian fellowship is the key application of the passage)

Celebrate the Joy (1 John 1:4)
(“Joy” is the key outcome of encountering the Messiah.)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What do you associate with the term “fellowship”?
  2. How do we know that the events we read about in history books really happened?
  3. What was from the beginning? (1 John 1:1)
  4. What contact did the writer and this community of believers have with the Word of life? (1 John 1:1)
  5. How did God reveal Himself to us? (1 John 1:2)
  6. What was being proclaimed by this community of believers? (1 John 1:2)
  7. Where had the eternal life been, and to whom had it appeared? (1 John 1:2)
  8. Why were the author and his fellow believers telling others about Christ? (1 John 1:3)
  9. With whom did this community of believers have fellowship? (1 John 1:3)
  10. Why was this letter written? (1 John 1:4)
  11. Why do you think John stressed his and this community of believers’ personal, physical, historical encounter with Jesus?
  12. How important are firsthand eyewitness testimonies, such as this writer’s, to your belief in Jesus?
  13. What fellowship do you have with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?
  14. What fellowship do you have with other believers?
  15. How is our fellowship with God related to our fellowship with other believers?
  16. What blocks our fellowship with God and others?
  17. In what ways can we enhance our fellowship?
  18. In what way is your joy complete?
  19. What can you do to gain a better appreciation of the historical foundation of your faith in Christ?
  20. What specific steps will you take this week in order to deepen your fellowship with other believers?

The Preparation – God’s Touch Felt

The Preparation. God’s Touch Felt.
Matthew 1:18-25 / Luke 1:39-56

  1. Trust the promise (Matthew 1:18-25).
    1. The Promise made known: God’s Word, God’s Way, God’s Work
    2. The Promise applied:
      1. Generally: “all of this took place to fulfill what was spoken” (Matthew 1:22)
      2. Respectively: “she will give birth to a son and you are to name Him Jesus” (Matthew 1:21, 23)
  2. Take joy in the promise (Luke 1:39-56)
    1. The significance of your joy builds upon the superiority of Jesus in your life. (Luke 1:39-45)
    2. The content of your joy builds upon a detail reflection of the promise. (Luke 1:46-55)

Questions for Further Discussion:

Matthew 1:18-25

  1. What are the tabloid headlines this week?
  2. Why is our society so drawn to gossip and scandal?
  3. How do people typically react when facing embarrassing situations?
  4. What happened to Mary while she and Joseph were engaged? (Matthew 1:18)
  5. What do you think Joseph initially thought upon hearing this news about his bride-to-be? (Matthew 1:18-19)
  6. What positive character qualities did Joseph possess? (Matthew 1:19)
  7. How did Joseph plan to handle this delicate situation? (Matthew 1:19)
  8. How was Joseph’s ancestry significant? (Matthew 1:20)
  9. Why did Joseph change his plans to divorce Mary? (Matthew 1:20)
  10. If Joseph wasn’t the actual father of Christ, who was? (Matthew 1:18, 20)
  11. What did the angel command Joseph to name the child and why? (Matthew 1:21)
  12. What significant mission in life would Mary’s child have? (Matthew 1:21)
  13. Why is Mary’s virginal conception of Christ significant? (Matthew 1:22-23)
  14. What does Immanuel mean? (Matthew 1:23)
  15. How did Joseph respond to the angelic message? (Matthew 1:24)
  16. How might you have responded in Mary’s situation?
  17. What would have been your reaction had you been in Joseph’s situation?
  18. How do you think a typical church might have handled Mary’s pre-marriage pregnancy? How about our church?
  19. How do you imagine the “grapevine” treated the Mary-Joseph situation?
  20. How does it feel to be the victim of unsubstantiated rumors and gossip?
  21. How does it feel to know that you are innocent and yet have people attacking your character and whispering behind your back?
  22. How does our desire for approval or acceptance keep us from doing the right thing?
  23. What difficult, hard-to-swallow command of God do you need to obey today?
  24. How will you respond the next time someone begins to tell you a juicy bit of gossip?

Luke 1:39-56

  1. In what ways could we describe both Mary and Elizabeth as “blessed” women?
  2. How did Elizabeth indicate that she knew what her and Mary’s pregnancies meant?
  3. How would you describe the mood in Zechariah’s home during the time Mary visited?
  4. Judging from Elizabeth’s experience, what is it like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
  5. How does it feel to be genuinely complimented by someone older than you?
  6. What significance do you think it had for Mary that Elizabeth knew the importance of Mary’s baby?
  7. What words best describe Mary’s attitude?
  8. What reasons can we give for calling Mary a woman blessed by God?
  9. What evidence do we have today that God is still keeping His promises?
  10. How can we illustrate God’s “bringing down rulers and lifting up the humble” today?
  11. What different methods have you used to tell others your experiences with God?
  12. What actions of God which Mary mentioned have you observed or experienced?
  13. How does God show mercy to us today?
  14. In what way can you glorify the Lord and rejoice in your Savior this week?
  15. What person close to you still needs to hear you express your faith?

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard
Luke 1:26-38 (Week Two of Advent)

  1. God manifested His work in Mary so that Jesus Christ would be manifested to the World. (Luke 1:26-29)
  2. Mary encountered a crisis of fact and faith that only the truth of Jesus could resolve. (Luke 1:34)
  3. The Holy Spirit made the Purpose of Christ reality. (Luke 1:35)
  4. The reality of Christ caused worshipful obedience (Luke 1:36-38)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. When was an occasion that you received an unexpected honor?
  2. How do you tend to react when you receive unexpected good news?
  3. Who greeted Mary? Why? (Luke 1:26-28)
  4. How did Mary learn of her role in Jesus’ birth? (Luke 1:26-28)
  5. How did Mary feel when the angel appeared to her? (Luke 1:29-30)
  6. How did Gabriel describe the child that would be born to Mary? (Luke 1:31-33)
  7. What title would Jesus have? (Luke 1:32)
  8. What Old Testament personalities were part of Jesus’ royal line? (Luke 1:32-33)
  9. Why wasn’t Mary struck dumb by the angel as Zechariah was? (Luke 1:34)
  10. How did Mary’s response to the angel differ from Zechariah’s? (Luke 1:34, 38)
  11. Why did Gabriel mention Elizabeth’s pregnancy to Mary? (Luke 1:36-37)
  12. What kind of attitude was apparent in Mary’s response to the angel’s visit? (Luke 1:38)
  13. What did Mary’s final statement to Gabriel show about her relationship with God? (Luke 1:38)
  14. What do Mary’s responses to Gabriel tell us about the kind of people through whom God works?
  15. In what different ways do people respond to the story of Christ’s birth?
  16. What difference does it make whether or not a person believes that the child born to Mary was really the Son of God?
  17. How has the fact that “with God, nothing is impossible” taken root in your life?
  18. In what ways would you say Mary’s responses to Gabriel summarize what our relationship with God ought to be like?
  19. What “impossibilities” in your life do you want to thank God for this week?
  20. What can you do to maintain a servant’s attitude as you live from day to day?
  21. In what ways can you develop the kind of humble spirit that Mary had?

The Story – God’s Plan Revealed

December 3
The Story. God’s Plan Revealed
Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

  • The Story: from brokenness to redemption (Isaiah 9:1)
  • The Hope: divinely planned and forever assured (Isaiah 9:2)
  • The Person: a Light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What positive associations do you have with light?
  2. Although he had been preaching God’s judgment (particularly on the kingdom of Israel), what
    total reversal did Isaiah foresee in the future? (Isaiah 9:1)
  3. What contrasting images did Isaiah use to set the scene of his prophecy? (Isaiah 9:2)
  4. To what situations did Isaiah compare the joy that will be Israel’s? (Isaiah 9:3)
  5. What did Isaiah predict God would do for Israel, causing her to rejoice? (Isaiah 9:4-5)
  6. How does Isaiah describe the Ruler who will be provided by God for His people? (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  7. What attributes of God are apparent in this passage?
  8. How is God’s promise of the coming child an answer to His anger over our sin?
  9. How would you explain the Light that came into your darkness?
    Why might it be dangerous to downplay the seriousness of our situation whenever we encounter hardship?
  10. What specific injustice in your area of influence can you challenge in the name of God? How?
  11. What person do you know who is still “walking in darkness” for whom God would have you
    pray?