Title: We Shall See Him
1. In the Sermon the Mount Jesus turns the way we normally think of things upside down. For example, in Matthew 5:4 we hear Jesus say, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Do you typically feel blessed when mourning? How does Jesus' resurrection and His promise that we too shall live (John 11:25) provide you with comfort during times of grief?
2. When reading through those who are blessed in Matthew 5:1-12, one thing we discover is that Jesus also fits this description. For example, Jesus is meek, Jesus hungers and thirsts for righteousness, Jesus is pure in heart, etc. Can you think of a time in the Gospels when Jesus displayed each one of the characteristics mentioned in Mark 5:1-12? They are as follows:
Title: Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice!
1. Luther once said, "I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor." What is your favorite hymn or praise song? Can you think of a time when music and praise gave you joy and helped "drive away the Devil?" How can hymns and praise songs help us to learn about God?
2. In Romans 3:28 we read, "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law." God gives us forgiveness not because of our works, but rather because of our faith in Him. Even more amazing, God is the one who creates faith within us! Why is this such good news for us? If God's forgiveness depended on you being perfect what would your chances be?
3. In John 8:36 Jesus says, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Praise God that He has set us free from slavery to sin, death, and the power of the devil! I invite you to take a moment to reflect on what how you have seen God's grace and forgiveness in your life and how it has set you free from both sin and guilt.
Title: With Man It is Impossible
1. When the disciples ask Jesus, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus responds by saying, "With man it is impossible, but not with God" (Mark 10:26-27). Why is it important for us to remember that we cannot save ourselves but must rely on God for salvation?
2. Jesus says, "there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time . . . with persecutions" (Mark 10:29-30). Jesus warns us that while we will receive a hundredfold we will also face persecutions. How might we face hardships because of our faith in our lives?
3. Last week we heard the story of the rich young man who was called to sell all that he had and to come follow Jesus (Mark 10:17-22). This week we hear that we may need to leave our houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, and/or lands for the sake of Jesus and the gospel (Mark 10:28-29). In other words,, we must put Jesus first in our lives but often doing so comes with a cost. Yet, Jesus promises that we will receive a hundredfold now and in the age to come eternal life (Mark 10:30). How does keeping our focus on eternity help us to keep our priorities straight and give us encouragement during life's difficulties? Consider Mark 8:35-36.
1. What sin(s) do you most struggle with?
2. One of the many uses of salt is to help preserve food from rotting. What helps to "preserve" a Christian from rotting from sin?
3. Jesus tells us to "be at peace with one another" (Mark 9:50). How does sin make it hard to be at peace with one another? Can you think of a time when either forgiving someone or being forgiven yourself helped you to find peace with someone in your life?