Week 23 – Scripture’s Authority

16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
 
Read through the passage of Scripture above several times and then reflect on it by answering the following three questions:

What?

What is something that stands out to you from this passage of Scripture?  What is one truth that you can take from it and hold in your heart and mind this week?

How?

How should you respond to this text this week?  What is a measurable step of obedience that you can take this week in response to what you have read?

Who?

Who is someone in your life who could benefit from what you have learned from this passage of Scripture?  Who does this passage of Scripture encourage you to pray for or engage with the gospel?
 
*I am using a “52 Week Bible Memory” plan as our selection guide for each week’s passage.

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Loving and Living Like Jesus in the Current Crisis

In light of the events of this past week, I wanted to take a moment to speak to you from my heart.
 
In times like this, it can be tempting for us to entrench ourselves in camps of our own creation where we feel safe. We feel a pressure within us to move to one side or the other, to listen to one narrative to the exclusion of another, to make assumptions of individuals and organizations that only foster division. As Christians, who are called to love like Jesus and live like Jesus, we must be willing to follow a different example, to confess and forsake all of our sinful tendencies.
 
The first “sign of life” that we studied in the first letter of John provides us with a much healthier pattern in this time of crisis. John told us that the very first and most important evidence of our salvation is the Spirit inside of us who testifies to the truth. The truth to which the Spirit testifies is Jesus’s identity as the Christ, the Son of God. The incarnation of Jesus Christ calls us to a better way in times of division.
 
The beautiful truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that though we existed in sinful rebellion against a perfectly holy and righteous God, he did not write us off in our rebellion. Instead, he pursued us in the most unique way imaginable. God clothed himself in humanity to dwell among us in humility and service. The fact that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man means that he alone stands in the place where he can perfectly represent both parties. He steps into the fray to manifest God to man, and man to God and reconcile us to one another. As Christians, we have the privilege and the responsibility to be voices of light and love in seasons of darkness and division.
 
On the one hand, we can and must declare that hostility and bias against a person merely because of the color of their skin or the origin of their race is appalling and of the devil. We can say, without reservation, that the senseless taking of human life is a direct attack against the God whose image every single human being reflects. Therefore, we can speak the names of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, declare their value as humans beings, acknowledge the unjust nature of their deaths, and call for those with the ability and power to ensure that justice is served.
 
On the other hand, we can speak the truth that the apostle James declares, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) We can condemn the displays of violence across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd as dishonoring to the Lord as well as to the memory of Floyd himself. We can speak with confidence that though some police officers use their positions of power to prey on the people they are meant to serve, this is not a reflection of the majority of those who have committed their lives to protect and serve the citizens of their communities.  We can acknowledge our fellow citizens’ right to be both angry and heartbroken while encouraging them with the words of Paul, “in your anger do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
 
Speaking these truths is not doublespeak.  As the children of God and citizens of an eternal kingdom, we must rise above the earthly camps in which we tend to reside. We must be willing to declare the value of every life, advocate for justice in every corner of the world, and strive to make peace at every opportunity in which we are given. We are to live a better way but a harder way; the way of humility, service, and sacrifice that has been modeled for us by Jesus Christ.
 
As children of God who believe the truth about Jesus, we must now be willing to love like Jesus and live like Jesus. This is our opportunity to manifest Christ to the world around us as we step into the conversation not on this side or that side but to the best of our ability on God’s side. So let us honor him! Let us go before the Lord in confidence to intercede for our world in prayer. Let us pray for those around us caught up in sin and ask that “God will give [them] life” (1 John 5:16) and let us pray that the God of all comfort will come alongside those of our world who are hurting. Then let us come out of our prayer closets confident in who we are in Jesus and love like Jesus and live like Jesus for his glory and the good of our world.
 
God bless you and to him be all the glory!

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Week 22 – Christ is King

19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:19-23 (ESV)
 
Read through the passage of Scripture above several times and then reflect on it by answering the following three questions:

What?

What is something that stands out to you from this passage of Scripture?  What is one truth that you can take from it and hold in your heart and mind this week?

How?

How should you respond to this text this week?  What is a measurable step of obedience that you can take this week in response to what you have read?

Who?

Who is someone in your life who could benefit from what you have learned from this passage of Scripture?  Who does this passage of Scripture encourage you to pray for or engage with the gospel?
 
*I am using a “52 Week Bible Memory” plan as our selection guide for each week’s passage.  You can download it from this site.

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Week 21 – Christ is Priest

 14  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)
 
Read through the passage of Scripture above several times and then reflect on it by answering the following three questions:

What?

What is something that stands out to you from this passage of Scripture?  What is one truth that you can take from it and hold in your heart and mind this week?

How?

How should you respond to this text this week?  What is a measurable step of obedience that you can take this week in response to what you have read?

Who?

Who is someone in your life who could benefit from what you have learned from this passage of Scripture?  Who does this passage of Scripture encourage you to pray for or engage with the gospel?
 
*I am using a “52 Week Bible Memory” plan as our selection guide for each week’s passage.  You can download it from this site.

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May 17 – Sermon Discussion Guide

Download Love Discussion Guide .pdf Here

Signs of Life: Love

1 John 2:7-11; 3:11-18; 4:7-12

7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 2:7-11

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  
1 John 3:11-18

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12

Digging Deeper

John tells us that his command that we love is not a new commandment but an old one.  The Bible is filled with testimony of God’s love and his command that we love like him.  Take some time to look up these other passages of Scripture to get a fuller view of God’s command that we love.

  • Leviticus 19:18
  • Matthew 5:21-22
  • John 13:34; 15:12-17
  • Galatians 5:14
  • Philippians 2:5-8
  • James 2:1-9
  • 1 Peter 2:19-23

Digesting the Text

  • What is something that you consider valuable? What is it that determines its value?
  • Take some time to read through the passages from 1 John. Take special notice of the words that John repeats throughout these verses.  What patterns do you see?  What is John trying to communicate to his audience and to us?  What does John indicate has value and what does not?
  • When is a time that you have struggled to love other believers? What are some ways that we tend to close our hearts (1 John 3:17) to someone in need?
  • What was the response of Jesus to our need? Make a list of everything you can think that Jesus sacrificed to serve us in our need and save us from our sin.
  • Pastor Will shared that love and hate are two sides of the same coin, two ends of the same spectrum. When we love one thing, we must hate another.  How does this challenge you to be intentional to love who, what, and how Jesus loves this week?  What are some real steps you can take to love on purpose this week?

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Week 20 – Christ is Prophet

19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
Acts 3:19-26 (ESV)
 
Read through the passage of Scripture above several times and then reflect on it by answering the following three questions:

What?

What is something that stands out to you from this passage of Scripture?  What is one truth that you can take from it and hold in your heart and mind this week?

How?

How should you respond to this text this week?  What is a measurable step of obedience that you can take this week in response to what you have read?

Who?

Who is someone in your life who could benefit from what you have learned from this passage of Scripture?  Who does this passage of Scripture encourage you to pray for or engage with the gospel?
 
*I am using a “52 Week Bible Memory” plan as our selection guide for each week’s passage.  You can download it from this site.

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