28
May
2009

This is the Testimony

Sermon on 1 John 5:9-15 for Confirmation Sunday

Sermon Talking Points:

1. When were you baptized, as a child or an adult? When did you make profession of your faith, either in confirmation or as an adult? What did this mean for your life as a Christian?

2. What is Christian testimony? How is the testimony of man different from the superior testimony of God? Reread 1 John 5

3. What does the Scripture say the testimony of God is? What is a martyr? (ex. Acts 7-8)

4. Why is the testimony of God (our confession of faith) worth dying for? How have Christians given their lives in the past?

5. How does the church pass on this testimony, and how is it like running the race of faith together? What gives us the strength to keep on in this race? 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Tim. 4:6-8

6. What is the testimony about Christ, and how does it give life?

7. Who is someone you can bring the testimony of God to?

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28
May
2009

You Did Not Choose Me

Sermon on John 15:9-17.           Note: This sermon was read during our services by my elders, as I was away. I made this recording of myself later, so it isn't live.

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. While we have a degree of free will in ordinary, earthly matters that are “below us,” how do Jesus and the Scriptures make it clear that we do not have free will in choosing or seeking after God (heavenly matters, or things “above us”)? See John 15:16; Matt. 18:10-14; Rom. 3:10b-11; Ps. 53:1-3.
  2. How does this go against all that we instinctively and by nature want to believe about ourselves and our abilities? Give yourself this simple test to see whether or not you have free will in spiritual matters: Exercise your free will to avoid all sin in thought, word, or deed for the next week. How did you do? Are you ready to concede that sin has a greater power over you than you are willing to admit?
  3. Before the awakening of faith, what is the problem with our heart that we cannot seek after God? See verses above from Romans and Psalms. Also Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:18-19.
  4. If faith was a matter of our seeking out God rather than Him seeking us out, how would this diminish the importance of grace? Eph. 2:8-10.
  5. What are the implications of Jesus choosing us to be His friends? How does it shape our lives? How is our love and willingness to bear fruit constantly challenged? How should we respond?
  6. If Jesus’ love abiding and growing in us is a work in progress, what is the completed work of love that Jesus has done?
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11
May
2009

Jesus, the True Vine

Sermon on John 15:1-8, for the 5th Sunday of Easter.

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. Why is pruning necessary for a fruit-bearing vine? How does that relate to how it’s necessary for us as believers to be pruned by the Father?
  2. What are some ways that we are pruned? What tests, difficulties, or challenges do you personally face that are pruning you to be a branch that bears more fruit?
  3. In you person situation, what is the growth that God desires for you? Read 1 John chapter 4, Galatians 5, Eph 4:17-5:21.
  4. How is our human love insufficient for the love of our brother that God commands? Where do we find the source of the love that keeps the command to love our neighbor? How do we “tap into” this love?
  5. How does it help in times of trouble to know about God’s pruning activity? What perspective does it give?
  6. How does Jesus share with the fate of the vine in every way? What did He endure to become the Living Vine that bears fruit in us, His branches?
  7. Read the following for Old Testament examples of vine imagery: Psalm 80:8-19; Isaiah 4:2-4, 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15; Joel 1:11-12, 2:12-13.
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