30
May
2011

Spirit, Love & Obedience

Sermon on the work of the Holy Spirit, John 14:15-21 for the 6th Sunday of Easter

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. Why does a Christian desire to keep Jesus’ commandments? John 14:15, 21; 15:9-12; 1 John 5:1-5. Obedience shows our love of God—John 14:21; 1 John 5:2-3. Reflect on how Adam and Eve first showed their lack of love through disobedience to God. How does our disobedience show lack of love?

2. What enables the keeping of the commandments not to be burdensome to the Christian? Colossians 2:14; Romans 7:4-6; 21-25; John 14:16.

3. What is the significance of the new identity that is given to us when we are born of water and the Spirit in baptism? How does that new identity affect how we are able to live our lives and love God and neighbor?

4. What “departure(s)” was Jesus speaking of to His disciples? John 16:28. How would He comfort and provide for them? Would He be absent? Cf. Matt. 28:20; John 14:20-21; 15:4-6. When would He return? Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:27

5. What does the Holy Spirit do to preserve us in faith until that day? Calls us to faith in Jesus; gathers us into the Christian church as believes, teaches us everything that Jesus taught, leading us into repentance and faith and a holy life, gives us a new identity and spiritual gifts to enable our obedience, keeps us in the true faith.

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23
May
2011

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Sermon on John 14:1-14, for the 5th Sunday of Easter, about Jesus' exclusive claim to be the only way to the Father.

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. Why does believing in God, that is, believing in Jesus, bring peace to the troubled heart? John 16:22-23; Phil. 4:7; 1 Tim. 1:5

2. For what reason did Jesus ascend into heaven after rising from the dead? John 13:36; 14:2-3; 16:7. When will He bring us with Him?

3. Rather than give “directions” or a checklist to get into heaven, Jesus points Thomas to Himself (Jesus), as the Way. What is significant about the fact that the Way is a person? What does it mean that “without the Way, there is no going?”

4. How does Jesus’ message that He is the only Way to the Father run against the grain of our human thinking? How do people today try to change these words of Jesus? Why is it so important that we be able to turn people away from “dead-end paths?” cf. Acts 4:12

5. What does it mean that “without the Truth, there is no knowing?” How is Jesus the source of Truth? John 1:1-2; 17; 8:32; 16:13; 17:17; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Timothy 2:4.

6. How does human knowledge set itself against God’s truth? 1 Corinthians 2 (esp. v. 14); 2 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:3-5; Rom. 1:25

7. What does it mean that “without the Life, there is no living?” Mark 8:35; John 1:4; 3:15; 5:24-29; 10:10.

8. What does our sinful nature often propose is the “real life?” Eph. 2:3; 2 Tim. 2:22; Titus 2:12;

9. How is knowing Jesus to know and see the Father as well? John 5:18-29; 8:12ff. What does such faith in God bring us in eternity?

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15
May
2011

Community of Joy

Sermon on Acts 2:42-47 for the 4th Sunday of Easter, about the joy of community as it was seen in the earliest Christian church.

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. What was the earliest pattern of Christian worship, identified in Acts 2:42? How does our Lutheran Service of Word and Sacrament compare to this early outline? What was the foundation of their unity?

2. How did the signs and wonders performed by the apostles provide confirmation of their message? Hebrews 2:3-4; John 3:2; 6:30; 11:47; Acts 14:3; 1 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 12:12. Why are miracles no longer needed as confirmation of the apostolic message?

3. What prompted the early Christians to adopt the pattern of communal living? What made it work in their case? What made it fail under other circumstances? (cf. Acts 5:1-11; 6:1-2)

4. To whom was their generosity turned? Acts 2:45; Matt. 5:42; 6:3-4; 2 Cor. 9:6ff. What is the joy found in giving? (2 Cor. 9:7)

5. How is joy found in the community of believers? What is it about carrying our sorrows and burdens to fellow Christians? In sharing times of rejoicing and thanksgiving? Gal. 6:2; Rom. 15:1

6. How is repentance and forgiveness between one another a source of joy in the community? How does this flow from the knowledge and joy found in the forgiveness of sins from Jesus Christ?

7. How does the love of Christ and the love of serving our neighbor find its joy in people? How can you find your joy in other people?

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9
May
2011

Unexpected Companion

Sermon on Luke 24:13-35, about the Road to Emmaus, and Jesus' unexpected companionship that brought joy in their grief, and how Jesus also is our unexpected companion.

Sermon Talking Points Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. How were the disciples on the road to Emmaus an example of people whose joy had been stolen? Under what circumstances? What had their hopes been (Luke 24:21)? What was so disorienting about the grief they were experiencing?

2. What griefs have you endured? Think of a time when your joy was stolen or overshadowed by a loss. What was disorienting about your experience with grief?

3. How did the unexpected companionship of Jesus on their way begin to reorient them back to hope and joy? What was it about His presence and conversation that made their hearts “burn within them?” Luke 24:27, 30-35.

4. How is coming to the understanding of Jesus being the heart and center of all the Bible (Old and New Testament), like seeing the picture on the top of a puzzle box? John 5:39; Luke 24:27, 45-47.

5. How is the unexpected companionship of Jesus a comfort and joy to us amidst sorrow and suffering? How does it reorient us toward hope and joy? 1 Thess. 4:13; Romans 5:4-5; 1 Peter 1:3-5

6. In what ways is Jesus such a present companion in life, even now? Matthew 28:20; 18:20; John 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 10:16; Romans 6:5-11

7. How can you be an “unexpected companion” to someone experiencing grief, or joylessness? What message can you bring to them to encourage and lift their spirits?

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2
May
2011

Gladness and Joy

Sermon on John 20:19-31 for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, on Christian joy.

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. Friedrich Nietzche, the German philosopher said, “You Christians lost the world when you lost your joy.” What did he mean? How does (or would) Christian joy be magnetic to those who don’t believe? What are reasons for losing our joy?

2. Look for examples of joy in each of the three readings. Can you create joy by seeking it? Does it work to be told that you should be joyful? Can it be manufactured? Why or why not? Where does true joy come from? How is it discovered or found?

3. Explain the difference between joy and happiness. How can joy exist, even in dark times of life? Read Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 1:6-8

4. What are the things that specifically make Easter joyous? What is the joy of the resurrection? How does it make a difference that the resurrection is of the body? Luke 24:36-43 How was the presence of Jesus of great comfort and joy to them? How is the presence of God itself a source of joy? Psalm 16, esp. v. 11

5. How does the forgiveness of sins always give us cause for rejoicing? What does it mean for you to know that God will not keep a record of your sins, but has set them apart as far as the East is from the West? Psalm 103

6. How does Jesus break into our sadness with joy? How does He encounter us through Word and Sacrament? How does this bring joy?

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