Further Reflection – Son of God

For study and further reflection from our most recent message Son of God, the fifth in our series Jesus, Name Above All Names, we encourage the use of the following questions.

If you missed last Sunday’s (3/13) message, you can stream or download it here.

Scripture Reading: John 10:22-42

The unbelief of the Jews

Given the meaning of the Feast of Hanukkah (when Jews remember their deliverance during the Maccabean revolt; 168-165 B.C.) what feelings about Rome’s authority might surface among the crowds?

How would Roman authorities prepare for this feast?

What might be the real intent of the Pharisees’ question in verse 24?

Ho do the leaders interpret Jesus’ claim to be one with God?

How does Jesus sidetrack them (verse 34; Psalm 82:5)?

What could account for the difference in reception Jesus received across the Jordan (verses 40-42)?

Personal Reflections

What convinced you that Jesus is the Messiah?

What “old ways” of looking at Jesus must you overcome by faith? By study?

What difference does it make that Jesus is God and not just a man?

Would the promise of verse 28 mean much otherwise?

 

Credit and thanks to Harold Bussell

Further Reflection – Son of the Father

For study and further reflection from our most recent message Son of the Father, the fourth in our series Jesus, Name Above All Names, we encourage the use of the following questions.

If you missed last Sunday’s (3/6) message, you can stream or download it here.

Scripture Reading: John 5:16-30

Life through the Son John Chapter 5 verses 16-28
What was the result for Jesus after this healing in verses 1-15?
How did his response to the Jewish leaders only intensify their opposition?
Why would Jesus do this?
In what ways is Jesus equal with the father according to verses 26 & 27?
What claims does Jesus make about himself?
What is the promise?
What happens to those who hear and believer according to verses 24-30?
To those who do not?
How would you describe the business that God the Father and God the Son are in?

Personal Reflections
When in your life has your faith in Jesus Christ immediately thrown you into a crisis with others?
How have you handed that or grown as a result of it?
If you had to explain to someone what verse 24 means in your own words, how would you put it?
In your own spiritual journey, when did you come to understand this truth?
How did it affect your self-image? Your lifestyle? Your life goals?
Special thanks to Harold Bussell.

Further Reflection – Jesus The Messiah

For study and further reflection from our most recent message Jesus the Messiah, the third in our series Jesus, Name Above All Names, we encourage the use of the following questions.

If you missed last Sunday’s (2/28) message, you can stream or download it here.

Scripture Reading: John 4:1-42

Jesus talks with a Samaritan Woman verses 1-26

What is significant about the story taking place in Samaria?

What does the fact that she comes to draw water at noon time tell us about her?

Why do you think Jesus risked his reputation to ask a favor of this woman?

How would you describe the woman’s response?

What do you think the disciples must have thought by Jesus leading them through this forbidden territory?

How would you describe the woman’s response?

How did Jesus turn the tables on her in verse 10?

In the woman’s reply, what is she really saying?

How is she like Nicodemus (3:1-21)?

Why does Jesus change the topic of conversation so abruptly to her personal live (vv. 16-18)?

What strikes you about the way he responds to her claim to not have a husband?

Why do you think this woman changed the conversation to focus on a religious topic and controversy?

In this story, what does Jesus mean by telling her that God is interested in worshipers who will do so in “spirit and truth”?

What is significant about Jesus choosing this woman as the first person to whom he revealed himself (vv. 39-42)?

Do you think there were a lot of nervous men when she said, “Come see the man who told me everything I ever did”?

Personal Reflections

What social and ethnic barriers have you overcome since coming to faith in Jesus?

What aspects of Jesus’ conversation could you use as a model for your own discussions with searching friends?

What are you constantly “thirsting” for in life? How has Jesus satisfied you?

What one insight did you gain from these verses that you want to remember?
The Disciples Rejoin Jesus verses 27-41

Why were the disciples surprised to find Jesus with this woman?

What does “leaving her water jar” reveal about Jesus’ impact on her?

How did she impact others?

How is Jesus’ figurative speech once again misunderstood (see 2:19; 3:3; 4:10)?

Why does he continue to speak like this?

In what ways is God’s will like food for him?

How does this parable of harvesting apply to the disciples?

Given the social barriers between Jews and Samaritans, what do verses 40-42 teach you about Jesus?

Personal Reflections

Considering your interest in “spiritual things,” are you more like the disciples or the Samaritans? Why?

Is doing God’s will as essential to you as eating food? Why?

What do you learn from the woman about telling others about Jesus? From the parable (vv. 35-38)?

What one new insight did you gain from these verses?

 

 

Further Reflection – Son of Man

For study and further reflection from our most recent message Son of Man, the second in our series Jesus, Name Above All Names, we encourage the use of the following questions.

If you missed last Sunday’s (2/21) message, you can stream or download it here.

Scripture Reading: John 3:14-21

  • What does Jesus claim about himself in verses 13-15?
  • From verses 16-18, what stands out to you about God?
  • About what he wants to do?
  • About how a person is condemned?
  • How will belief show itself (vv. 15-21)?
  • How is Jesus’ use of the words “born again” similar to and different from the way it is used to day?
  • What does Jesus say you must believe to be “born again”?
  • How would you define “born again” in your own words?

Personal Reflection

  • What first aroused your interest in Jesus? Why?
  • Where are you right now in the birthing process of spiritual life: Not yet conceived? Developing, but not so anyone could tell? Heavy with child and waiting? Kicking and screaming like an infant? Growing daily? Explain?
  • When did you see God as saving you, rather of than condemning you?
  • What one point do you want to remember from today’s discussion?

Further Reflection – Lamb of God

Last Sunday at Ashland we began a new sermon series called Jesus, Name Above All Names. The first message given in this series was Lamb of God. For study and further reflection of we encourage using the following questions.

If you missed last Sunday’s (2/14) message, you can stream or download it here.

Scripture Reading: John 1:29-51

Verses 29-34 Jesus the Lamb of God John just a witness

What does he mean by calling Jesus the “Lamb of God” (see Ex. 12:1-13; Isa.53:7)?

And the “Son of God” (v. 34)?

What proof supports these claims (Psalm 2:7)?

Personal Reflections on verses 29-34

Who “made straight the way for the Lord” in your life? Have you thanked them?

Of the titles given for Jesus (the Word, the Light, the Christ, the Lam of God, the Son of God), which means the most to you today and why?

Verses 35-51 The First Disciples

In light of verses 30-31, how do you think John felt when his disciples left him to follow Jesus? What does this say about John?

What motivated the disciples of John to follow Jesus?

What motivated Andrew to tell Simon about him?

How do you think Simon felt when Jesus changed his name to Cephas (meaning rock)?

What helped Nathanael overcome his initial skepticism about Jesus?

In these verses, how many different titles are attributed to Jesus?

Which means the most to you personally?

Personal Reflections on verses 35-51

Which one of the disciples are you the most like when it comes to following Jesus?

What was your motive for initially following Jesus and what circumstances led to that?

 

Thanks to Harold Bussell for these questions.

Romans Reading and Devotion // Day 31

Read Romans 16

In this concluding chapter, Paul sends his greetings to many people, along with his wishes for the church at Rome to treat them well.

First, note how many people he desires for the church at Rome to greet! The work of the ministry is hard, and it’s time to reap the harvest (John 4:35). As a result, we all need each other. We all need to work together, all gifts, abilities and skills, young and old, all nations, for the sake of the gospel. Everyone has an ability to help, and therefore we should find a place for everyone to help. What work are you doing for the kingdom? Where is your niche, your area of service?

Second, see how hard many of them have worked! Paul describes Phoebe as “a great help,” Priscilla and Aquila “risked their lives,” Mary worked hard (as did Tryphena and Tryphosa), Andronicus and Junia were “outstanding,” and the mother or Rufus was like a mother to Paul, not to mention all the other saints named in this chapter. What would you like to be said about you? What would you like to be known for? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are (everyone has at least one)? What talents or abilities do you have? If you don’t have a good sense of your spiritual gifts or talents, pray that God would make that known to you. If you do, ask God to strengthen you in your calling of task. And thank God for the fellowship of believers, and the way it enriches our Christian life and testimony.

Written by Greg Goss

Romans Reading and Devotion // Day 30

Read Romans 15

Romans chapter 15 is a continuation of chapter 14 where we are basically told to “not tear apart the work of God over what you eat” 14:20 NLT

Let us not let the little things or physical things hinder the much more important spiritual life of the church.  Refer back to yesterday’s devotion if you missed it!
Consideration, Unity, honor, teamwork, community, these are words that we hear often today but do we practice them?  We must realize that without these character traits the church will not work.

Consideration – I think of others, I try to look at your perspective. Unity – We work hard to make it work together as one. Honor – you are important to me and to the larger body. Teamwork – our roles are unique but let’s fine tune actions to make it work like a puzzle. If we play our position well it works! Community – We spend time together, we get to know each other, we help one another, we must do this together, we celebrate together. We sit at the feet of Jesus together. Two more: Acceptance of each other for Gods glory.  This is clearly speaking about diversity as he mentions the Gentiles in vss. 9-11.  Reminders – Like a parent, Peter and Paul give a lot of reminders vs 15, “Now, let’s go over this again”

Verse 5 tells us that it is God who gives us the patience and encouragement. Please let us ask Him for help and sustenance and protection.  This is not about self-improvement or just doing better.  Only the spirit of God can make these changes in our lives.  He will show us our needs. He convicts us of these important traits but we must take the time to listen to what the Spirit is telling us.  This is true devotion. Getting on our knees and not just asking for requests but asking to be spoken to, to be led by the spirit.

About the same time as I was given Romans 15, my brother in law, Bruce Lengeman shared a transcript of a new book he has just written. “Living and Leading in a Culture of honor” in which he share these five points:

A culture of honor is an environment of grace where
* people are valued,
* diversity is celebrated,
* problems are solved respectfully,
* true authority is given deference,
* people prefer others above themselves, and as a result,
* Wholesome productivity is maximized.

Lord, please help me to value others within our church as well as those outside our church who we are trying to reach for you, please give me a heart of serving and a minister of Your grace.  I confess too often just thinking of my own needs and wants.  I ask that You would help me to see and server others the way You would.

Written by Darrell Proctor

Romans Reading and Devotion // Day 29

Read Romans 14:13-23

Paul gives us some more guidelines on the issues at hand.

First, Paul notes that he is not neutral on these issues. Specifically, he believes that it is OK to eat meat that comes from the marketplace (v. 14, 20). But he gives us two more principles to consider.

First, love trumps doctrine. That is to say, it is more important to love your fellow Christian (and say nothing), than to prove that you are right (and potentially hurt our brother or sister, v. 13).

Second, love trumps freedom. We are free in Christ from the Jewish Law (Gal 5:1; Rom 7:4), but our freedom must not be used to harm another (v. 15), either intentionally (by flaunting their choices in front of others), or unintentionally (by failing to consider how others may be affected by our choices). Those who consider themselves “strong” in the faith need to be considerate of the weak (and not vice versa) in the same way that adults need to considerate of children.

On the other hand, you don’t have to be a pushover. If someone doesn’t remain silent but speaks against your position, you can defend it (v. 16).

So, these principles apply: (1) love trumps being right or being free, (2) act out of conviction rather than fear or doubt, and (3) when in doubt, remain silent.

And pray that we would remember that love of God and our fellow believers is to take priority in all our decisions, and pray that we use our freedoms to build up the body of Christ.

Written by Greg Goss

 

Romans Reading and Devotion // Day 28

Read Romans 14:1-12

Paul gives the Romans (and us) some very helpful guidelines on getting along with fellow church members.

The general issue is: how do we get along with others when we disagree on matters of doctrine or practice? Paul dealt with two specific issues. First, may Christians eat meat, (with the possibility that it had been previously sacrificed to idols; see 1 Cor 8, 10), or may they only eat vegetables (thus taking the safer route)? Second, are the Jewish Sabbaths or festivals still to be observed, or are all days alike?

Paul gives church laypeople (not pastors or elders) two principles to follow.

First, “each one should be convinced in his own mind” (v. 5). That is, people should do what they believe is right, without being cowed or intimidated by others, or by operating out of fear or prejudice.

Second, mind your own business. Each person’s acts are part of their devotion to the Lord (v. 7-9), and Christ died for believers on both sides of an issue (v. 10). Each person is responsible to God and will be judged by God (10-12). So, MYOB! Silence is golden.

The application of this passage should be fairly obvious: (1) love one another, (2) give one another the benefit of the doubt, (3) if you feel you must speak with someone, talk to a pastor or elder and let them handle it.

So, thank God for our freedoms, and pray for all believers that we may make choices that honor and please God.

Written by Greg Goss

Romans Reading and Devotion // Day 27

Read Romans 13:8-14

Paul continues speaking on the pattern of obedience to our leaders and seeking to live peacefully with all. While the previous passage spoke of being obedient to the law in our obligations to political leaders and others, here he speaks of going beyond the laws of God and man.

How do we do so? By loving our neighbors as ourselves, “for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law” (v. 8). How can Paul speak of love as an ongoing debt? It is so in the sense that it can never be fully repaid or completed. To whom are we in debt? To Christ, who, by paying our debt of sin, has reconciled us to God, and who has tasked us with take his message of reconciliation to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:19-20).

Paul speaks of love here not primarily as an emotional or physical urge, but as an attitude of wanting the best for someone else. When viewed in this way, there is always someone to love and a way to show your love to them. The fact that we have loved someone yesterday does not lessen our responsibility to love them today, or tomorrow, or forever. Thus, love is greater than any spiritual gift or act we can do (1 Cor 13:1-3), and love is eternal (1 Cor 13:13).

What would our church look like if we had such an attitude? What would our town (or nation) look like, if the churches would live like this? If you determined to live tomorrow with the aim of loving everyone you met, what would your day look like?

Pray for yourself, that you would follow the example of Christ and be more loving toward others, and pray for others to do so as well. Pray for our church to be more loving, as well as for the other churches in our town, and in our nation and world. Finally, can you think of any practical ways to show your love to others?

Written by Greg Goss