Luke III - Passion
Sermons Available: 6
Resurrection: Worship, Certainty, Witness
June 14, 2020 • Clark Halstead
LUKE 24 - RESURRECTION: WORSHIP, CERTAINTY, WITNESS When you think about the Gospel message, do you include Jesus’ resurrection as an equal component with his death and burial? Often, the way we talk about the Gospel in evangelical circles makes it seem like Jesus is still in the grave, but that’s not the case; he’s resurrected! What does his resurrection say about the type of faith a Christian has? On a basic level, the Christian faith is a living faith, not a dead faith; a happy faith, not a sad faith; a hopeful faith, not a mournful faith (that’s not to say there aren’t times to mourn of be sad, but the resurrection of Jesus and our future resurrection is the final word in our story of faith and that is an encouraging thought). Jesus, other than giving physical proofs of his resurrection, the only other proof he used was the Scriptures. Luke wrote his Gospel so that Theophilus (and us) can have certainty. How do you think about the Bible? Is is good stories that teach us to be moral? Is it mostly true with some unbelievable stuff in there? Or, is the Bible the authoritative word of God, true in every word? What would it change about your life and faith to recognize that when we sit down to read the Bible or study the Bible we are sitting down to a totally different category of literature, God’s Word? Do you think the Scripture is sufficient to lead us into salvation and to instruct us in our day-to-day lives? In the past, what other authorities have you put on equal footing with the Scripture? In considering the resurrected Jesus’ commandment for his people to be witnesses, how does that make you feel? Does it feel weighty or burdensome? Does it feel uncomfortable? Do those feelings change when we consider the fact that in Luke 24, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his followers and that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead now resides in us and God’s Holy Spirit is ready to empower our witness? What would change in our lives if instead of feeling like witnessing is a “should” it is a “get to”? Instead of saying that I should share my faith and I should testify to the saving power of the Gospel, I get to do those things and see God work the miracle of faith in the people around me? Maybe this isn’t where you are today, but for me, this is a good place to repent of my lack of belief in God’s promises, and my lack of compassion for those who haven’t heard the Gospel message.
The Power of Innocence
June 7, 2020 • Robb Esperat
LUKE 23 - THE POWER OF INNOCENCE Read Luke 23:44-49. Luke records the centurion’s confession (v47) as the ‘final pronouncement’ on Jesus’ life. What do you think he witnessed that convinced him of Jesus’ innocence? Jesus’ innocence unmasks our sin. Read Luke 23:13-25 and list the characters mentioned. How does each contribute to the end result of an innocent man being killed? What underlying sins/motivations are exposed along the way? How does the cross unmask our sin as well? Jesus’ innocence conquers over sin. Read Col 2:15 and Revelation 5:1-5. Why does Jesus’ blood conquer sin when nobody else’s can? Jesus’ innocence replaces our sin. The veil of the temple (v45) represented a necessary separation between a holy God and sinful man. What role did Jesus’ innocence play in the veil’s destruction and our access to God? (For help, see Heb 7:26-27, 10:19-25) Jesus’ innocence is our mission. Read Philippians 2:14-16. What role does innocence play in the witness of the church? In v16, some translations read ‘holding fast’ while others read ‘holding forth’. What is the difference between these, and why are both necessary? How does a mission of innocence affect the way we respond to the unrest in our nation today? Luke 23 is designed to focus our attention on Christ, his innocence, his power, and his mercy. Take time together to reflect slowly and quietly on the passage and respond in prayer and worship. For further discussion: Our nation is experiencing extraordinary unrest after the killing of George Floyd. Share with one another how you are personally processing. What emotions are you feeling? How do you think the Lord wants you to respond? Pastor Chris Georges stressed the importance of ‘deep empathy’, of recognizing injustice and racism not as ‘their’ problem but as ‘our’ problem. What makes empathy between black and white cultures in America so difficult? What role can we play in addressing the issue? In the dialog with Pastor Georges, Robb mentioned two unhealthy ways to respond to Floyd’s killing: violence/destruction and apathy/silence. Why is each of these unhealthy? To which are you more inclined? In the current climate, the loudest voices tend to be accusatory ones on every side. It is important to confess and repent of sin, but it is also important to celebrate the grace of God and give thanks for the good work he has accomplished. Where have you seen forward motion regarding justice and racial reconciliation in our nation? In our church? In your personal sphere? Look again at Luke 23:13, 18. With the entrance of the Roman authorities, what critical shift occurs in the role of the people (compare Luke 19:47-48, 20:19, 21:38, 22:2)? How would you explain this baffling dynamic? What lessons can we learn about our own culture’s social dynamics, mob culture, & political allegiances? Throughout Luke’s gospel, we’ve seen the consistent categories of religious leaders, people/crowds, and disciples. In chapter 23, the disciples are glaringly absent and silent. What role does their silence play? Jesus Barabbas was in prison for killing someone during a riot (v25). Considering our current national climate, how do you respond emotionally to this character? To the crowd’s insistence that he be released?
Moments of Decision - Faithful or Not
May 31, 2020 • Zach Hardison
LUKE 22 - MAKE YOUR CHOICE! Read Luke 22:3-6 and 22:54-57. Compare the betrayal of these two men. With which man do you identify? (No judgment!) Read Luke 22:22-23. Why would the other disciples discuss who would betray Jesus? In this week’s message, Zach encouraged four choices - commitment, listening to Jesus (the Word), awareness about Satan and your fleshly desires, and repentance. Did any of these resonate with you? How has the COVID19 pandemic created opportunities for both failure and spiritual growth?
Unsigns and Signs
May 24, 2020 • Robb Esperat
LUKE 21 - UNSIGNS & SIGNS In his sermon this morning, Robb spoke about two common unhealthy responses to COVID-19 stressors - “giving up” on the disciplines of daily life, or “giving in” to fear and anxiety. Which of these do you see more in your circles? In your own life? Read Luke 21:8-19. These ‘unsigns’ bear witness, not to the end, but to the current brokenness of the world. What instructions or exhortations does Jesus give us in these verses? How do they relate to us during the COVID-19 era? Compare and contrast Luke 21:20-24 with vv25-28. What key event does each section foretell? What sign[s] accompany each event? Why do you think Jesus spoke to these two events, when the disciples seemed to only ask about one (v7)? Read Luke 21:29-33. The parable of the fig tree corresponds to the prophecy in vv 20-24. Luke’s gospel was almost certainly written and circulated before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, and there are substantial traditions from the early church that Jerusalem Christians successfully escaped that terrible event, fleeing the city when they saw “Jerusalem surrounded by armies.” Some believe these words were fulfilled at that time, while others believe a more complete fulfillment is yet to come. Either way, what value is there for us in knowing Jesus spoke these words, if we ourselves will likely never need to flee Jerusalem? Read Luke 21:34-36 and Matthew 24:42-44. This second parable of the trap/thief corresponds to the prophecy in Luke 21:25-28. How is the application different from the parable of the fig tree? What does it mean for us to ‘stay awake’?
By What Authority
May 17, 2020 • Robb Esperat
LUKE 20 - AUTHORITY When have you been blessed by someone else’s exercise of authority? When have you seen authority misused or abused? Contrast these experiences aloud with your group. What makes for good or bad uses of authority? Read Luke 20:1-8. Why is Jesus’ question difficult for his opponents? What does it reveal about the way they understand authority? Read Luke 20:9-18. When the villains in the story are brought to justice, how do the religious leaders respond (v16)? Why would anyone protest justice being served to murderous villains in a make-believe story!? What was Jesus revealing about the religious leaders’ own authority? In Luke 20:42-43. Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1. This Old Testament passage is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other scripture, revealing its great importance. How would you answer the question Jesus asks in v44? And how is it that this passage finds fulfillment in Jesus? (For help, see Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2:32-35) Jesus warned his disciples against the scribes’ example of leveraging authority for self-serving gain (Luke 20:45-47), and instead set an example of leveraging authority in self-sacrificial servanthood (Luke 22:25-27). In the heightened tensions of this COVID-19 era, how might we be tempted to make grabs for authority or serve ourselves rather than others? What specific choices can we make to follow Jesus’ way of sacrificial love instead?
God Wants You
May 10, 2020 • Clark Halstead
ACCEPTANCE: Luke 19:1-10 1. What are some of the ways that the blind beggar (right before Zacchaeus) and Zacchaeus and himself could have justified feeling totally unworthy of Jesus’ attention? What are some of the things you would use to justify why you don’t think you are worthy of Jesus’ attention today? 2. What are some of the ways that the bling beggar and Zacchaeus had to overcome obstacles in order to meet Jesus? What obstacles are you experiencing today in trying to meet Jesus? 3. The story about Zacchaeus, the story of the blind beggar, and the parable of the minas all talk about stewardship of God’s resources as an act of worship stemming from God’s acceptance of us in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. One of the most interesting components of this story is the servant who chose not to invest. Why do you think this mina was taken from him? What do you think his lack of investment of the mina communicated about his view of the nobleman? Was the nobleman actually a harsh master? Does his giving of cities communicate that he is harsh? How do you see our relationship with God? Do you view him as harsh and cruelly judging the investment of our stewardship or do you see him as generously rewarding and celebrating our choice to love and trust him?