Life’s Greatest Question

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 5:5-12

Lifes Greatest Question_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read 1 John 5:5-12 a few times. Circle or note the times John references Jesus.
  2. John says Jesus came “by the water and by the blood.” Both are equally important to understand the purpose of Jesus. Water represents Jesus’ ministry of baptism (washing and new birth) and blood represents sacrificial death. Why are both
    needed to understand Jesus’ saving work? What happens if you exclude or
    overemphasize one or the other?
  3. One’s belief about who Jesus is has eternal life consequences. How do these words help you understand what “believing in” Jesus means: Entrusting, Affirming,
    Accepting, Embracing, Receiving. What words would you add?
  4. Who does John say has eternal life? If someone, or even yourself, wanted to know if they had eternal life, what would you say?
  5. What will you do in your life this week in response to this passage?

Spiritual Exercise: In prayer, consider the fullness of Jesus’ saving work bringing both  forgiveness of sins (“by blood”) and new life (“by water”). Are you struggling to believe Jesus has covered and forgiven  specific sins in your life? Are you struggling to believe that Jesus has set you apart for new life with Him? Confess your struggle to God and know that Jesus HAS COME both to forgive and to impart new life. Rest in Him.

 

Real Freedom. Real Love.

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 5:1-5

Real Freedom Real Love_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

Read 1 John 5:1-5

  1. What are some truths John asserts about a Christian?
  2. What surprises or comforts you in these verses? What challenges your thinking?
  3. Why do you think John says the way to love other Christians is to love God and do what God commands?
  4. How does the world (created order in opposition to God’s good rule) make obeying God’s commands heavy? How does this shape your understanding of freedom?
  5. How does love remove the “burden” of obedience in relationships in your life? Does love necessitate restriction? Does real freedom require constraint?
  6. Consider Romans 3:20 and Galatians 5:13. How do these verses relate to love,
    freedom, and obeying God?

Spiritual Exercise: This week focus on seeing opportunities to act in self-sacrificial love toward a brother or sister in Christ. Be attentive to the Spirits’ leading to share your time, possessions, or words with another of God’s beloved. Act in faith.

 

Love Wins

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Pastor Steve

1 John 4:16-21

Love Wins_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read 1 John 4:16-21. What is one word or phrase that stands out to you?
  2. What is the reason for our confidence? Read Mat. 3:17 and 1 John 3:1. How does God see you in this world?
  3. How secure are you in the relationship of “beloved” child of God? What affect could knowing that, in Christ, you are God’s “beloved” have on your life?
  4. What are some reasons you struggle to love yourself or your neighbor?
  5. Read Revelation 2:1-7 about the church in Ephesus. What did they do well? What was Jesus’ concern? What was Jesus pathway to greater love?
  6. Is something restricting the flow of God’s love to you and/or through you to your neighbor? What would doing Jesus’ teaching in Rev. 2:5 look like in your life?

Spiritual Exercise: Practice gratitude this week. Each morning, begin by giving thanks to God for making you His “beloved” son or daughter through Christ. Throughout your day give thanks to God for all the gifts you can count.  When something challenging arises, remind yourself you are God’s “beloved” and give thanks to Him.

 

Breath & Word

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 4:13-16

Breath and Word_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read 1 John 4:13-16. What can you learn about Jesus from this passage?
  2. Who has been given the Spirit? Consider: Acts 2:28 and Romans 8:9-10.
  3. Read John 14:16-17. Look up the word παράκλητοs translated “Helper” or “Counselor” in a Bible dictionary. What does the word mean? Where else does John use the word? What is the significance of this “παράκλητος” being “another” in John 14:16?
  4. When you think about the Holy Spirit… what do you think? How have you seen or experienced the Holy Spirit at work in your life?
  5. How would you describe the relationship between the Spirit’s ministry in your life and the written words of God in the Bible? How do they interact?

Spiritual Exercise: Choose either Romans 8, John 14:12-31 & John 16, or Galatians 5. Read, study, and reflect on this passage daily this week. Then, in prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His work in your life and how you can grow in understanding and following Jesus through His leading daily.

 

 

Repercussions of God’s Love

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 4:7-12

Repercussions of God’s Love_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read 1 John 3:11-18 and 4:7-12.What are some similarities?
  2. Word Study: Choose one of these three words to study through Biblehub.com or some other tool or site. What did you learn that helps you with this passage?
    1) Love (ἀγάπη), 2) Propitiation (ἱλασμός), 3) Begotten (μονογενής).
  3. Think about the assertion: God is love. How is this different from saying “Love is God” or even “Love is love”? Why is this important?
  4. Is the phrase “God is love” something easy or challenging for you to believe? Why/why not? How do you deal with knowing God’s love in your personal life?
  5. Read Luke 7:36-50. Write down some things you learn about love. Note especially Jesus—what did he see, say, ask, and do? What does Jesus say to you in this story?

Spiritual Exercise: If you read enough about Jesus interacting with people you realize Jesus saw people differently, thought about them intentionally, and stopped to help routinely. He loved. This week, ask the Holy Spirit to change your eyes to see people like Jesus, your heart to think about people like Jesus, and your agenda to help people for Jesus. Who is Jesus helping you see? How can you love them?

 

Developing Discernment

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 4:1-6

Developing Discernment_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read 1 John 4:1-6. What are the two commands?
  2. Read 1 John 1:1-5. How does John’s use of “we” here impact his writing “we” in 1 John 4:6? What are some ways these verses relate to Galatians 1:6-12?
  3. What are some reasons John tells us to distinguish the content of a message/teaching as opposed to the messenger, impact, etc.?
  4. What comforts you in this passage? How does it challenge you?
  5. Where do you see the need for this exhortation in your life today? What does the world want to hear today? What do we need to hear?

Spiritual Exercise: In prayer ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how to personally respond to John’s teaching. If the Holy Spirit reveals a need to reject false teaching you have been embracing about Jesus, act in faith and repent, turn to Christ, and get rid of the false teaching. If you are led to seek a better understanding of the true gospel, act in faith and study the Scriptures and ask a mature Christian for help. If you are led to rejoice, rejoice in the victory God has given you and His ongoing protection.

True Confidence

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Pastor Steve Thomas

1 John 3:18-24

True Confidence_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read 1 John 3:18-24 & John 15:1-17. Note any shared ideas or words.
  2. How does John say we can know we are “of the truth”? What role does our heart play? Why does John ultimately point us to God?
  3. Would you say your heart is more confident or conflicted about God’s love for you and His work in your life? Where are you looking for your assurance?
  4. How might your life change if you developed a greater confidence in God’s love for you and His commitment to your becoming more like Christ?
  5. Read John 15:1-9. Analyze the imagery. Who are the vine, the branches and gardener? Who does what? What are two encouragements to your faith in John 15:1-17?

Spiritual Exercise: John teaches that we can calm our troubled hearts by contemplating the greatness of God and the fact that He knows all things. This week, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to an opportunity to tangibly love someone for Christ’s sake. If you

Love Isn’t Pink

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Pastor Russ Richmond

1 John 3:11-18

Love isn’t pink_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Why does Love seem so nebulous in our culture? Why does it seem weak and fluffy?
  2. Why is “not like Cain” not just a joke? How is murder not only evil but the opposite of love?
  3. Add to the list of contrasts between love and hate or love and unlove.
  4. How is taking the opposite of giving,? Where do you find it difficult to give people what they really need?
  5. What gifts can you lay down on the table, big and small that will glorify God, bless others and follow the example of Jesus?

Dawn of the Living Living

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Pastor Steve Thomas

John 20:19-23, 30-31 & Ephesians 2:1-10

Dawn of the Living living_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Ephesians chapter 1 through chapter 2:10. Take note of the shared phrases, ideas and themes.
  2. Ephesians 2:1-3 talks about bondage and enslavement. What are the ways people are enslaved that Paul gives? Have you experienced these
  3. Paul was a devout Jew, someone whose behavior would have been exemplary in the moral categories. How does enslavement affect religious people? How come behavior modification is powerless to truly transform us?
  4. What are the words which Paul uses to describe God? Which is the most important to you today
  5. Paul uses three verbs to express what God HAS DONE FOR US already in uniting us with Christ. What are they? How do they align with the enslavement in verses 1-3?
  6. What are you saved from? What are you saved for?

Spiritual Exercise:  Read Ephesians 2:1-10 again, but before you read, ask God to help you see clearly where you are in this passage. Then, read the passage and respond in faith to what God is calling you to do.

 

Walk On Not Away

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Pastor Steve Thomas

John 6:14-15, 24-71 & John 12:9-37

Walk On Not Away_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper: 

  1. Read these passages: Hebrews 2:1, 3:12-15 and 1 Tim. 1:18-20. What do they teach? What illustrations do they employ?
  2. According to Hebrews 3:12-15, what do we need to be mindful of as Christians and what do we need to do for each other?
  3. How does the Word of Christ factor into John 6:61-69 and the above passages?
  4. Have you had any personal experiences with “walking from “Jesus ? Where would you say you are now with Jesus?
  5. What has helped you “walk on” with Jesus during hard times in your life?
  6. When do you find it hard to keep “waving the palm branches” and singing,  “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord?”

Spiritual Exercise: Read Hebrews 3:12-15 again. Then pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into applying these verses in your life. Ask the Spirit to show you how to pray for the encouragement of a brother/sister in the faith and if the Spirit wants you to be an encourager to someone’s faith. Then, follow the Spirit’s leading.