On Sunday we heard really two messages: first, testimonies from baptism, and a short message from me. The truth is the baptism stories and personal sharing were the best. They are always the best.
But I also offered a few short thoughts on the book of Luke. We are in the midst of a series looking at the different books of the Bible from a high level and seeing what and who were the writing to and why? Luke is an investigator and a historian looking into the stories of Jesus and compiling them. But the point for Luke isn’t just history, but transformation. Joel Green writes this, “He did not, however, intend to provide just a historical justification of the Christian faith – ‘did it happen?’ – but to encourage faith – ‘what happened, and what does it all mean?’” And that’s what we looked at – what does it all mean?
And I think the point of Luke (and Acts which he also wrote) is really to encourage us to walk in service, sacrifice, and maturity. Luke is a book filled with a practical model for how we are to follow Jesus. It’s like Luke outlines the first few acts in a play, and then encourages us to finish the play in line with what’s been laid down. And part of what Luke really recognizes is that to step out in service and sacrifice we need the Holy Spirit.
So we took sometime looking at the Baptism of Jesus and the Holy Spirit Baptism in Acts 2. And what we noticed was that the Holy Spirit fills people, and empowers people to share his Good News. That if we want to walk in maturity and service to the world we need to be filled with God’s Spirit that allows us to follow. We need the Spirit to truly serve and sacrifice.
So we ended with this simple main point from Luke: To serve and sacrifice we all need to encounter and experience a fresh filling of the Spirit. We all need the Spirit to continually fill us. So we ended with a time for prayer for being filled with the Spirit, and cheering on baptisms as people were filled deeper with the Spirit than ever before.
Big Idea: To serve and sacrifice we all need to encounter and experience a fresh filling of the Spirit,
- What should we do?
- Luke is about courageously following God, in service and sacrifice
- The Holy Spirit fills people, and empowers people to share his Good News
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? Had you ever thought about the gospels being different before? What stood our to you from the testimonies? Have you ever experienced the Holy Spirit in a strong way before? Why do you think we need the Spirit to serve the world deeper and fuller? How can you continue to ensure you are filled deeper and deeper with the Spirit?
Challenge for the Week: Be filled with the Spirit and step out and serve.
On Sunday we kicked off a brand new series looking at the three marks of a Christian. We began by discussing what the “marks” of a follower of Jesus are. And we began with a really simple, but difficult question: what is a disciple of Jesus?
At first glance that question seems simple doesn’t it? A disciple of Jesus is someone who follows Jesus. But what does that mean? What does that look like?
I think these questions really matter because if you only have a vague idea of what God is asking of you, chances are you won’t be getting where God wants you to be.
So we began to define what a disciple and the three marks of a Christ-follower by looking at two passages: Matthew 22:36-40 and Matthew 28:18-19.
And in the first passage we got the first clear glimpse into what a follower of Jesus looks like. It looks like someone who loves God. But loving God isn’t enough, because you can love God and still miss out on living like God. People who loved God caused the crusades, inquisitions, and still today spew hate. The idea of “loving God” needs definition or all sorts and manners of hate can be spewed in defense of God.
This is why Jesus then utters a second command he says is just as important as the first. We need to love others. Loving God, necessitates loving our neighbors. Jesus gives definition for what loving God looks like, and it looks like someone who loves their neighbour.
So the first two marks of a follower of Jesus are loving God, and loving their neighbour. But those two aren’t enough, there is a third mark. Because you can end up loving God and loving others but not having a forward momentum, you can end up isolated, rather than transforming the world. We need to also hear not only the great commandment but also the great commission.
Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-19 that we need to go out and make disciples. We need to spread his love and light among the world. We need to go out and bless the nations and bless our neighbours. Part of the Christian calling isn’t just to love God, and love our neighbours, but to also actively love the world around us.
And we need to do all three: loving God, loving others, and loving the world. Because if we aren’t doing any of the these three marks of a Jesus-follower our lives will not be fully formed.
So that’s where we went on Sunday explaining the three circles of love and how every Christian needs to do all three. Now as we move forward we’ll unpack each of those circles and for how, if you focus on journeying, connecting, and serving, you’re life with Jesus and those around you can be changed. Which is what following Jesus is all about – being changed by him, and changing lives with him.
Big Idea: Jesus followers should love God, love others, and love the world.
- A mark is:
- 1) An obvious object or article that serves as a guide to travellers
- 2) An impression or a distinguishing trait or characteristic
- Vague impressions of direction get you no where.
- What is a disciple?
- Loving God needs definition.
- Loving God and Loving others are part of what following Jesus means.
- Loving the world propels us out into the world.
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? What circle do you most resonate with (Loving God, Others, or the World)? Which circle do you most struggle with? How do you think you might grow deeper with your struggling circle?
Discussion Questions for Young Families
Take a look at your family and think through which circles you are good at, and which ones you need to grow in. Ask your kids then for ideas for how to grow in the difficult circles and put them into practice.
Challenge for the Week: Make a decision to grow in all three circles