The Joshua Victor Theory
Take Heart; I AM!

Take Heart; I AM!

July 26, 2009

Sermon on Mark 6:45-56 for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost:

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. Jesus again takes time alone for prayer. If the Son of God took this time, how much more important is it for us to do so? Do you face the challenges of life with prayer?
  2. Why did Jesus allow the disciples to struggle so late in the night against the wind? What “driving winds” in your life seem to hold things at a standstill? What challenges leave you discouraged?
  3. How is fear irrational? How does it lead us into inaction or even superstition? What do you fear? Impress Jesus’ words on your heart: “Take Heart; I AM! Do not be afraid!”
  4. Read Exodus 3. By what name did God reveal Himself to Moses? How did God’s giving of His name to Moses command an end to his fears?
  5. Read John 8:57-59; 18:1-8. What was Jesus claiming when He referred to Himself as “I AM”? What connection does this have with speaking courage to the disciples and us?
  6. How does the Word of God and Baptism stand as the entry point of Christ and His saving work into our life? How does this presence calm our fears?
They shall be Satisfied

They shall be Satisfied

July 19, 2009

Sermon on Mark 6:30-44, the feeding of the 5,000, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost.

Sermon Talking Points:

1. What produces a real spiritual hunger and thirst for Christ? Are we hungry for Him? Why or why not?

2. What serves as distractions from our spiritual needs? How do these things “satisfy”? Or do they?

3. How can life be a desolate place? In what ways do we have a “God-shaped hole” in our life? (see Eccles. 3:11; Acts 17:27; Psalm 42:2; Mark 6:34)

4. How does Jesus respond to those who come to Him with mixed motives? How did Jesus show compassion? How did Jesus call on His disciples to show compassion? Why should we care for both body and soul?

5. What specific way can we as a congregation show mercy to those in our community? Who has a claim on our mercy?

6. What are our “five loaves and two fish?” How can Jesus use them to the expansion of His kingdom? Don’t forget the “God-factor.”

7. How does Jesus’ life abound for us in more than just physical needs and “daily bread” in the earthly sense? How does Jesus satisfy? What does He give? (Psalm 63; Matt. 5:6).

Predestined to the Praise of His Glory

Predestined to the Praise of His Glory

July 13, 2009

Sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14 for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost.

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. Do you ever have doubts about your salvation? Why or why not? What things can contribute to our complacency about such questions?

  1. What are harmful ways of thinking about predestination? What focus is lost in them?

  1. What are the implications of the fact that God chose us before the foundation of the world?

  1. Read Romans 15:4. Why can’t it be that one of God’s teachings (such as predestination) should cause our faith harm or trouble? What is the purpose of God’s Word?

  1. Does predestination make it irrelevant how I live my life? (reread Eph. 1:4)

  1. How does the eternal decree of predestination intersect with faith in Christ in time and history?

To study further on the teaching of Election/Predestination, there is a short summary explanation in the Book of Concord in the section called the “Epitome, article XI”, or there is a more in-depth treatment in the “Solid Declaration, article XI.” Both links are below if you don’t have a book copy. Election.

Honor Jesus With Your Heart

Honor Jesus With Your Heart

July 13, 2009

Sermon on Mark 6:1-13 for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost.

Sermon Talking Points 1. What kind of rejection did Jesus often experience in His ministry? What did He do when people wouldn’t listen?

2. What sort of people rejected Him, and what reasons or excuses did they give? What are some reasons people reject Jesus today? How have they “reduced” or misunderstood Him?

3. Why is the Gospel, the “good news,” something very different from “self-help?” If self-help were sufficient, what wouldn’t we need? (cf. John 1:17; Eph. 2:1; Rom. 5:6, 8:3).

4. What was Jesus’ real goal as He carried out His ministry?

5. In what way can we honor Jesus with our hearts? What will we do and how will the evidence of this be shown in our lives?

6. How does the example of the disciples teach us simplicity and contentment? While we aren’t given the same command to leave home and possessions, what does it teach us about what things are important in life?

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