filled with joy!

 

NOTE: He is risen! Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Easter Sunday, Apr. 8. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon (Filled With Joy!) that morning. The primary text for this sermon is John 20.19-23. You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title “LIFE group guides.”

Aim

To drive home the deep meaning of Jesus’ resurrection for us as his disciples.

Word

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.” (John 20.19-23 CEB)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Tell us about a truly victorious or especially joyful moment in your life, be it big or small.

2. If you were to die, come back from the dead, and speak to your loved ones, what would be the first thing you’d say to them?

3. Tell us what Easter Sunday was like for you when you were a wee one.

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. According to this passage (John 20.19-23), how much time passed between Jesus’ resurrection and his appearance to his disciples?

2. What did Jesus mean when he said “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you?”

3. How would you say the reception of the Holy Spirit is tied to our grasp of Jesus’ resurrection, our life in light of his resurrection, and the mission he’s given us?

4. How does Jesus’ resurrection affect our understanding of forgiveness (vs. 23)?

5. One-third of this text is what the risen Christ said. Sum up his words in your own words.

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. How has human history been affected by the fact Jesus’ body has never been found?

2. If archaeologists discovered the body of Jesus tomorrow, how would your life change?

3. What has the resurrection of Jesus done for your fears?

4. What sort of peace do you have in your life because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

5. What joy do you have in life because of Christ’s resurrection?

6. Given the resurrection of Jesus, what would you say is your mission in life?

7. What can you do to help others to see and hear, as it were, the risen Christ today?

this went thru my mind (b)

 

Body & soul: God is Not in the Business of Saving Souls by K. Rex Butts

“… let’s get our language correct. God is not in the business of saving souls. God is in the business of redeeming creation and that includes us…our whole self, our entire being, our body.”

Confession: Practical Advice on Confession by Bill Mounce

“[Confession] is, in a sense, a skill we all need to develop, whether we are new on the path of discipleship or a seasoned traveler.”

Capital punishment: Seeking an End to an Execution Law They Once Championed by Adam Nagourney

“It’s been a colossal failure. … The cost of our system of capital punishment is so enormous that any benefit that could be obtained from it — and now I think there’s very little or zero benefit — is so dollar-wasteful that it serves no effective purpose.”

Crucifixion of Jesus: Why Was Jesus Crucified? by Larry Hurtado

“… however attractive to our own gentle instincts may be the sort of Jesus touted often, a guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly and just wanted everyone to be friends, we have to posit a Jesus who could get himself crucified.”

Death of Jesus: Did Jesus Die of a Broken Heart? by Caleb Wilde

“Let me suggest that Jesus died from stress-induced cardiomyopathy as a result of the rejection and grief he experienced as he walked the world.”

Fear: Fear-Driven Christianity by Timothy Archer

“Too often, we let fear determine our practices, what we will do and what we won’t. … While actively seeking to do what is unsafe is foolish, focusing on “safety” in religion can lead us to an even more dangerous place.”

Focus: Your Focus Really Does Makes a Difference by Jim Martin

“Some people are reactive. They are forever talking about what used to be. … Others are proactive. They stand on tiptoes peering into the future. For these people, life is meant to be lived.”

Generations: How to Reach a Lost Generation 6: The Burden is on Them As Well by Matt Dabbs

“… the burden is not solely on the church when it comes to reaching young adults. They have a burden as well. When Christ’s call comes to someone it is a call to change.”

Hurry sickness: Why Faster is Not Better by Chris Altrock

“One of the things that most hinders our ability to lean into Jesus’ vision for the relationships in our lives is the rush of our lives. We simply don’t have time for people.”

Politics: 5 Attitudes for a Christian in a Political Season by Daniel Darling

“Let’s be honest. Much of what drives elections is fear. Both sides gin up fear about the other side. … But Christians can’t and shouldn’t be driven by fear, but by confidence in the sovereignty of God.”

The upper room: Reclining in the Upper Room by Ferrell Jenkins

“Each of the Gospels tell us something about the last supper Jesus ate with His disciples prior to the crucifixion. … Both Mark and Luke inform us that the room was a “large upper room furnished” (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12).”

To-do: What I Learned About To-Do Lists From my Eight-Year-Old Son by Michael Hyatt

“Even though Harrison had a hectic summer schedule, which consisted of playing with friends, building Legos, and recreational-sleep he still put “play with Dad” as an important task to be completed.”

this went thru my mind (a)

 

Civil War: New Estimate Raises Civil War Death Toll by Guy Gugliotta

“For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — by far the greatest toll of any war in American history. But new research shows that the numbers were far too low.”

Continuing revelation: “God Told Me” and Other Embarrassing Phrases Christians Use by Brian Jones

“Whenever someone tells you something that begins with the three words ‘God told me’ you should immediately …”

Evangelism: Know Your Neighbors? by Matt Branaugh

“We all need a place to start. … The challenge is realizing where we are starting from.”

Generations: How To Reach a Lost Generation 5: 25 Reasons Young People Are Leaving the Church by Matt Dabbs

“There are many more but this is a start. It is good to be aware of these issues because they point to something deeper that needs to change in our very paradigm of what we view church to be.”

Great commission: The First Great Commission: Mercy, Not Sacrifice by Mark Love

“We all know how the gospel of Matthew ends: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go into all the world, making disciples…” These verses, are less well known. “Woe to you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make a single covert and make the new convert twice the child of hell as yourselves” (Mt. 23:15). It would appear that Jesus is after something more than missionary zeal.”

Health: Kitchen Cures Doctors Swear By by Marisa Cohen

“‘True, some home remedies are simply old wives’ tales, but others have stuck around for generations because they actually work,’ says Philip Hagen, M.D., preventive medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic.”

Jesus wept: Jefferson’s Bible and the Tears of Christ by Makoto Fujimura

“Predictably, ‘Jesus wept’ [John 11.35] did not make into the Jefferson Bible. John 11 was cut out entirely, falling onto the floor of his Monticello home and discarded, along with Martha’s confession. Jefferson’s rationalism allowed only a distant deity that made sense in reference to objective ‘scientific’ calibrations, not ephemeral marks of compassion.”

Preaching: The Awful Task of Preaching by Terry Rush

“Preaching is transitory. I don’t know how it is for others, but for me the burden of speaking to a church about God is increasingly burdening….in a wonderful way. It scares me more week by week.”

The resurrection of Jesus: ‘People have very odd ideas about Jesus’ (Sam Hailes interview of N.T. Wright)

“Anyone who is in any sense a Christian cannot with any consistency believe that Jesus stayed dead. … if you say Jesus died and nothing happened but the disciples had some interesting ideas, then you have cut off the branch on which all classic Christianity is sitting. This generation needs to wake up, smell the coffee and realize serious Christianity begins when Jesus comes out of the tomb on Easter morning. This is not a nice optional extra for those who like believing in funny things.”