LIFE group guide: eradicating the Easter error

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (April 20) 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.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this sermon.

To consider some of what it means for us that God raised Jesus back to life.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

•  God raised him from the dead … (Acts 2.24)

•  … they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead … (Acts 13.29-31)

•  … believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Romans 4.24)

•  We were … buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6.4)

•  … he who raised Christ from the dead will … give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8.11)

•  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10.9)

•  … you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus … (1 Thessalonians 1.9-10)

•  Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1.21)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. When I think of someone being “dead” I think of them being ___.”

2. When I think of someone being “alive” I think of them being ___.”

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. Which NT writer speaks by far and away most frequently of Jesus being “raised”?

2. Using the texts above, make a list of what believers do in light of Christ’s resurrection.

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. Which do you think of most often: Christ’s cross or his empty tomb? Why?

2. Could the Father have not raised the Son? Explain.

3. What is the greatest evidence, or witness to, Jesus having been resurrected?

4. “If the power of the God who raises the dead is working in me as a believer I can ___.”

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Mediate daily on God’s character and power as revealed in Christ’s resurrection.

2. Start each day: “God, I will let your life-giving power be shown thru me today by ___.”

eradicating the Easter error

 

Every year, at this time of year, I hear the same thing over and over and over again. In conversations with kin in Christ. Via bumper stickers. Through Facebook posts. On Christian radio. As a part of Christian literature and sermons. At church. I hear/see statements like these:

* “Jesus is Lord and he proved it when by his own power he rolled back the stone and walked out of that tomb.” [insert annoying sound of end-of-game buzzer here]

* “He couldn’t stay dead! He’s Jesus!” [insert quick, decisive buzzer sound]

* “He proved himself to be God by bringing himself back from the grave.” [I need more buzzer!]

* “He willed himself back to life for us.” [insert rapidly repeated sound of buzzer]

* “… Jesus resurrected himself …” [insert sound of never-ending buzzer, growing louder and louder]

Jesus came to life after he was dead. No, not resuscitation, resurrection. Awesome!

But, Jesus didn’t have anything thing to do with it. Listen to the way the Bible relates what happened:

God raised him from the dead … (Acts 2.24)

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. (Acts 2.32)

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. (Acts 3.15)

… Jesus Christ of Nazareth … whom God raised from the dead … (Acts 4.10)

The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. (Acts 5.30)

God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. (Acts 10.40)

… they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead … (Acts 13.29-31)

God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. (Acts 13.34)

… the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. (Acts 13.37)

… believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Rom. 4.24)

We were … buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6.4)

he who raised Christ from the dead will … give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Rom. 8.11)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10.9)

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. (1 Cor. 6.14)

… we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. (1 Cor. 15.15)

… we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus … (2 Cor. 4.14)

his incomparably great power … is … the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead … (Eph. 1.19-20)

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … (Eph. 2.6)

… buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col. 2.12)

… you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus … (1 Thes. 1.9-10)

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Pet. 1.21)

The resurrection of Jesus? God our Father did it. That’s the point. And it’s a big deal. God did it.

And what difference does it make whether Jesus did it or the Father did it?

A lot. A whole lot.

To you. To the way you understand God. And to the way you live your life.

How so?

Rise up, come hear my sermon tomorrow morning at MoSt Church, and I’ll tell you.

links: this went thru my mind

 

Affordable Care Acts / Obamacare: * Affordable Care Act and Health Coverage; * Obamacare: Your 12 Biggest Questions Answered

* “On next Tuesday, October 1, 2013, Americans without health insurance coverage will be able to enroll for coverage under provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The process is fairly simple. You can apply online at www.healthcare.gov.”

* “Will the new insurance exchanges make buying insurance on my own easier? … I’ve already got insurance at my job. Why does any of this matter to me? … I’ve been buying my own insurance for years. What changes? … Will the exchanges lower prices? … What about my premium? Up or down? … Can I still buy insurance off the exchange? … Will I really have to pay a fine if I opt out? … I keep hearing about subsidies. Who is eligible for one? … I’m retired. What do I need to do? … This all sounds pretty complicated. Do we have a logistical disaster in the making? … Could the government still pull the plug? … What happens if too many opt out?”

Arrogance & pride: Three Signs of Arrogance

“Now, of course, you might say, “Not me! No way I am even remotely an arrogant person.” Sometimes we think of people who act pompous and immediately conclude that we are certainly not arrogant. Yet, arrogance sometimes comes out in people who think they are … better … smarter … more important.”

Children, parenting & youth ministry: Anonymous Youth Pastor’s Letter to a Parent

“I need to get something off my chest. When I first came to this church, you told me how excited you were that I would be showing your kids what it means to love Jesus, be part of His Church, and grow as a Christian. You told me you were praying for me and that you had my back. You had high hopes for the youth ministry. I had high hopes too. But I must confess that I am frustrated right now because I feel like you’re working against me, not with me.”

Civility, internet, respect, rudeness, speech, thoughtlessness & words: ‘Popular Science’ Shuts Comments, Citing Internet ‘Trolls

“We’re all familiar with that deep, dark rabbit hole of Internet comment boards. A negative or critical comment sparks a firestorm of debate until the discussion erodes into a cavalcade of insults and personal attacks. Once you finally snap back to reality, you realize you’ve often strayed so far from the original story that it’s often difficult to find your way back.”

Death, heaven, resurrection, the intermediate state & transformation: NT Wright on the Intermediate State

“Going to heaven when you die’ is not held out in the New Testament as the main goal. The main goal is to be bodily raised into the transformed, glorious likeness of Jesus Christ.”

Deception, government, money, poor & wealthy: Interests of the Wealthy Elite and Myth of Government “Inefficiency”

“What is very much a biblical concern is that ‘the powerful dictate what they desire; thus they pervert justice’ (Micah 7:2-3). A government that deserves the support of people of faith is one that stands with the weak against the strong. Those responsible for governing who fail to do this are the very ones ‘who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right’ (Isaiah 10:1). The rich who use government to their own advantage also promote distrust of government that serves the broader legitimate interests of the population.

“It is to the advantage of the power and wealth elite to convince others that the government is wasteful, ineffective and untrustworthy. The mighty moneyed elite have pressed this message incessantly for decades. They have successfully mobilized their media and advertising power to shape the perceptions of many to the advantage of the few. And the push toward privatization has filled their pockets to overflowing.”

Education: Education Statistics: High School Diploma or Higher, by Percentage (Most Recent) by State [Texas comes in dead last]

“Percentage of population over 25 years old with a high school degree or higher.”