“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…”
I. We are a PEOPLE of full of CONTRADICTIONS. (v.16-18)
A. OBEDIENT and WORSHIPPING. (v.17)
B. Yet STILL struggling with DOUBT. (v.17)
C. But not REJECTED by JESUS. (v.18)
This week we start the season of foundations. While we will be working our way through Exodus with the occasional dip into the rest of the Torah, today we start with the moments just prior to Jesus’ ascension after the resurrection. The point is what God did when he led the people out of Egypt laid the foundations for what He would do with the birth of the church – forming the people of God.
1. Kid’s Question: If you could ask God any question what would that be and why?
2. What aspects of the description of the disciples in v.16-17 do you most identify with? Does the acceptance of Jesus of the situation surprise you?
II. The CALLING we have all RECEIVED. (v.18-20)
A. Make DISCIPLES (a.k.a. APPRENTICES). (v.19)
B. BAPTIZE them…WHY? (v.19)
C. TEACHING them (HOW) to OBEY. (v.20)
In the same way we see echoes of the disciples in our own lives, the calling Jesus gives them is one that we have today as well. 2000 years later we are following in a long line of disciple-makers.
3. “A disciple looks increasingly like Jesus.” What’s your reaction to that statement? Can you see a progression in your own life?
4. If someone asked the challenges that come in obeying Jesus what would you say? Have you any wisdom about how to obey what Jesus commands?
III. The GUARANTEE of God’s SUCCESS. (v.18-20)
A. The AUTHORITY of JESUS. (v.18)
B. The PROMISE of continuous PRESENCE. (v.20)
Despite the rumours, the church is not in danger. God has promised to build it, and he reminds the disciples of two key realities that will be foundational to their faith in the challenging days that lie ahead of them. It’s vital that these realities are clear to us today as well.
5. What is your baseline feeling about the church of Jesus? Fear of what might happen, confidence, embarrassment, something else? Why do you feel that way?
6. How often during the course of normal day are you consciously aware of the presence of God with you? How can you expand that awareness?
IV. FORMING the PEOPLE of God. (v.18-20; Exodus-Deuteronomy)
A. PRACTICE makes PEOPLE. (v.19-20; Mt. 11:29-30; 16:24)
B. It’s not WILL you practice, but WHAT will you practice. (Rom 12:1-2)
C. PRACTICES of TESTIMONY. (v.19; Phil. 3:20)
D. PRACTICES of TRANSFORMATION. (v.20; Col. 3:12-14; Eph. 4:22-24)
So how does God form his people? The Spirit works the transformation in us as we partner in the process. It’s a blend of taking action and receiving the gift that God gives us. Stepping up to engage is the first step in preparing ourselves to be transformed but he work of the Spirit…to become the people of God.
7. What current practices are shaping you into the person that you are? In other words, what do you repeatedly do? What results are you getting?
8. Are you willing to take small steps in practices that form you into the image of Jesus? What step is next?