Monthly Archives: September 2021

Love God, Love Each Other

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 26, 2021

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” - Galatians 5:6

Read Galatians 4

The background of the book is that the Gentiles were being forced to become Jewish (being circumcised!) before becoming Christians. Paul wanted them to be free from any obligations that did not include Christ.

Read Galatians 5:1-5

What does Paul mean by “freedom?” What did he want them to be free from?

  • They were to be free from human standards and obligations
  • Think about Adam and Eve in the garden! They were free to enjoy God’s creation. God wants us to all be free to love Him through Christ

It’s easy to try to go back to our roots of doing various things to feel good with God. But God wants us to rely on Jesus’ words, not our own human efforts.

Yoke: they control animals, they enslave

Read Galatians 5:6

What does it mean to have “faith expressing itself through love?”

  • Everything in God’s commandments is actually supposed to be helping us love each other and God better
  • This is why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor
  • Faith is not enough, our faith compels us to love. Faith is where it starts and brings us to beautiful, loving action.

Read Galatians 5:13-26

Read and reflect. Find ways to love those in your life to express your faith.

Waiting for Lazarus

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 19, 2021

Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place? What are you going to do when God is silent?

Read John 11

Why did Jesus let Lazarus die?

  • God was able to be glorified by raising Lazarus from the dead
  • It can be easy to discount things as being coincidental instead of realizing it’s definitely God
    working and giving love to the people
  • What do we do when we face problems? --> We want to fix it! But sometimes God waits before “fixing” the problem

What passages in the Bible show how God waited to fix things?

  • In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry
  • In Exodus 14:14, Moses says that God will fight for us but we need to be still
  • In Genesis 50, Joseph didn’t become second in command to Pharaoh for at least 20 years! He was 17 when taken into slavery and second in command around age 31

It can be easy to feel abandoned in these times. It takes a tremendous amount of trust in God to say “not my will but Yours be done” the way Jesus did when He went on the cross.

What does it mean when Jesus says He is the resurrection and the life?

  • it relates to the end of times when Jesus will resurrect us and give us new life
  • also it says the way to access resurrection and life is through Jesus

Why do you think Jesus wept?

  • He had great empathy for the people there
  • God wants us all to be brutally honest with Him, and share our hearts with Him. By the end of our prayers and journaling, we can feel resolved with God and realize that He was with us the whole time.
  • What are you going to do when God is silent?

Light and Darkness

What convinced you that you needed to be called out of living in the darkness and enter into living in the light?

Read Romans 1:21-23; 1 John 2:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14

  • What does it mean to live in “darkness”?
    • Living a life without the presence of God
    • Not having a full understanding of who God really is
    • Having “ eyes” but not seeing
    • Not knowing where you are going in life because you are without direction

Read John 3: 19-21; John 8:12; Colossians 1:9-14

  • What does it mean to live in the "light"?
    • Living in the light involves knowing Jesus and following his example
    • Understanding the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross
    • Choosing to return to the presence of God and to stop hiding and keeping secrets in our lives
    • As disciples, after spending time with Jesus, we are able to shine our light onto others
    • When we live in the light we grow, like green plants that require sunlight; without light they shrivel up and die
    • Jesus came to bring truth and light into our lives, can we handle having our lives exposed and in the light?

Read 1 Peter 2:9-10

  • As disciples we were called out of darkness to live in the light of God
  • We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s special possession when we live and seek to stay in God’s light
  • What convinced you that you needed to be called out of living in the darkness and enter into living in the light?

Perhaps you saw the truth about yourself and found a better way to live

Perhaps you realized you can handle the strain of living without God, too many issues in the world to deal with

Perhaps your relationships with friends and family are non existent or abusive

Maybe you realized just going to church on Sunday and living poorly during the week was shallow and unfulfilling

  • God has called us all to live in the light. We do not have to give up hope because God has already rescued us through his Son Jesus if we accept the rescuing. 
  • God is transforming you right now and remaking you so that you can be physically ready to enter into his kingdom in Heaven.

Peter and John Sharing Their Faith

Sharing our faith is much more than inviting someone to church, or even proclaiming the good news; it’s the entirety of our lives as followers of Christ. 

Sunday Lesson Notes, September 5, 2021

Read Acts 3:1-26

What are some main points in this passage?

  • Peter and John healed a beggar and everyone was amazed.
  • Peter reminded them that the healing was from God's power and faith in the name of Jesus who they believed was literally alive and still with them in spirit
  • Peter reminded the Jews in this passage that they were actually personally responsible for Jesus’s death and out of ignorance they unknowingly killed the Son of God
  • Peter advised them that they needed to repent, turn from their sinful mindsets and actions, and turn to God
  • Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray and to encourage the Jews that would be there. It was customary for the Jews at this time to pray every three hours, from sunrise to sunset. 
  • Peter and John used this opportunity to share Jesus with the beggar and healed him. As the beggar was clinging to them, they noticed the large crowd that was gathering and used it as an opportunity to share the good news about Jesus.
  • Peter and John were on their way to meet needs and sharing the good news of Jesus was another natural incident in their lives as they went on their way
  • Peter advised them as a  nation, they needed to repent in their thinking and this would also lead to individual repentance
  • When we repent and turn to God, God wipes out our sins, like an inkblot wiping out words on a page

Read Acts 4:1-36

What are some main points in this passage?

  • Peter and John were arrested for healing the beggar. They were brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious leadership group that did not believe in resurrection
  • The Sanhedrin members threatened Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus but they refused and stated it was more important to obey God
  • The Sanhedrin let them get away with it because large crowds of people witnessed the healing and were praising God as a result. 
  • Peter reminded them that Jesus rose from the dead after he was killed and that this was foretold by their prophets
  • He advised that salvation was found in no one else but Jesus
  • They knew their scriptures and were prepared to share the news about Jesus with anyone that would listen
  • It is important to remember to read your bible each day and anchor your thoughts throughout the day in those scriptures. This will help you to remember to share Jesus as you go along in your day.
  • Internalizing who Jesus was and how he lived and how his disciples lived will help you to live and walk as Jesus did
  • Peter and John shared Jesus by telling the other believers what had happened to them.  Sharing our faith is much more than inviting someone to church, or even proclaiming the good news; it’s the entirety of our lives as followers of Christ. 
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