NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (June 22) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.
Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.
To note the company that baptism keeps, giving it meaning, as related by the authors of the Four Gospels.
These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.
• … Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.18-20 NRSV)
• Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. (Mark 16.15-16 NLT)
• He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. … Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. … Change your hearts and lives! Turn back to God so that your sins may be wiped away. (Luke 24.46-47; Acts 2.38; 3.19 CEB)
• Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3.5-8 NIV)
Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.
1. Tell us about your experience in the use of a compass. Did one ever help you get “un-lost?”
2. Tell us about someone’s baptism that was especially meaningful to you or deeply moved you.
These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.
1. How is it the rest of Matthew 28.18-20 flows into, and out of, the “due north” word “disciple?”
2. Mark 16.9-20 was likely not a part of Mark’s original Gospel, but is, nonetheless, ancient teaching. In several different English translations, note the explanatory footnotes of this text.
3. What words in the four sets of texts above stress how baptism is for all people, everywhere?
These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.
1. “Baptism is meant to be part of the beginning, not the end, of becoming a Christian?” How so?
2. What does it mean to be a “disciple?” Why do we tend to use the word “Christian” instead?
3. One person says baptism is a matter of immediacy and urgency. Another says it’s not to be rushed into, but must be approached with premeditation and preparation. Weigh in, allowing the four sets of texts above to determine and shape your perspective.
4. Which of the four main thoughts concerning baptism above is easiest for you to grasp? Most challenging? Most comforting? Why?
5. When is a person truly “ready” for baptism? When are they not ready?
These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.
1. Are you ready right now to learn of Christ, lean on Christ, line up with Christ, and live by his Spirit? Well then, decide to be baptized into Christ today.
2. Compose a prayer that centers on how you will live out the meaning of your baptism.