Church and Religion
Dying to the Glory of God Acts 7:54-8:4 Summary: Today we see the death of a goodly man, Stephen in the book of Acts. Last week there were two funerals in our church. Whenever someone dies, it should remind us that for Christians death not to be feared. It is a doorway we walk through to be with Jesus! Stephen knew this in his life and it gave him courage in his death. How can that future give you courage today? Outline: 1. For the Christian, death is a window to see Jesus 2. For the Christian, death is a doorway to join Jesus 3. For the Christian death can be a mirror to reflect Jesus 4. For God, terrible evil can be turned to a greater purpose Verse: Acts 7:56 And he said, ďBehold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.Ē Discussion questions: 1. Read Acts 7:54-8:4. What do you see about Godís enemies vs. Stephen? How does their rage compare with Stephenís character? 2. Why is it significant that heaven opens and Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God? Why might God have done this? Why is it signifiant that Jesus is standing? 3. How can this passage help you as you consider death? As you think about facing persecution int this world? How might it encourage you to know that Jesus stands ready to vindicate and receive his saints at their death? How does this knowledge help Stephen in the very end? (See verse 60). What might that look like in your life?
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Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 Sermon Title: God of all comfort Summary: Suffering is never fun. Whether we are suffering because we are sick or because something bad has happened to us, we donít like to go through suffering. Many times when we suffer we can question whether or not God cares for us. But what God wants us to know and to experience is the comfort of Christ who was a man of suffering. Listen this week as God tells you He loves you and is with you to give you comfort in your suffering. Outline: 1. God cares for you in your suffering 2. God has a purpose for your suffering 3. God is reliable in your suffering Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:7 (ESV) Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. Questions 1. What sort of suffering typically causes you to despair and doubt Godís goodness toward you? Why? 2. How are you tempted to trust in yourself to figure your way out of the suffering instead of turning to Christ? 3. What are some ways Christ has met you with comfort in the middle of your suffering? How can you help point other people to Christ in the middle of their suffering?
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God Rescues His People -- Acts 7:1-53 Summary: Today we look again at a man named Stephen, whom God used as a preacher and a witness for Jesus and His Gospel. We will see Stephen on trial, speaking before the Jewish rulers. He boldly speaks about Godís truth to them, and in the end they kill him for it! But God cares for His servants, even in times like this. Letís listen in: Outline: 1. The warning: Donít resist Godís prophets 2. The encouragement: Return to God and He will always forgive Verse: 1 Kings 8:27 ďBut will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You...
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Acts 6:8-15 Full of Grace and Power Summary: Today in our sermon we get to see Stephen, one of Godís servants who was used to preach the Gospel body, and in the end was put to death for his faith. Stephenís life reminds us that God will always care for his people, even in their darkest moments and trials! 1. Stephen was full of grace, power, wisdom and the Holy Spirit 2. Godís enemies rage and plot to stop Godís plan 3. God shines on His children and defends their cause Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
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Acts 6:1-7 Spirit Empowered Servants Summary: There are times when we see people in need of some of the things we take for granted, like food, clothing and a home. Something much like this happened in the days of the Apostles. Many widows (women whose husbands had died) were going hungry daily. What did the church do? They choose faithful men to serve and meet this need, much like our own deacons do today. As we care for those in need, we get to show the love of Jesus to people! How can you show love and mercy like Jesus? Letís think about it: Outline: 1. The struggle: the Body of Christ finds people not receiving care 2. The solution: the Body of Christ chooses servants of mercy 3. The success: The Body of Christ shows Godís mercy to the World Verse: Psalm 146:9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. Discussion questions: Consider this description of Jesus: ďJesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the peopleÖĒ (Luke 24:19). What does this tell us about the fullness of Jesusí ministry? How should that be reflected in the churchís ministry? Where are you seeking to meet needs and dispense mercy today? Where can you begin this week? Make a plan Ė perhaps a plan that involves your whole family.
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Acts 4:17-42 Worthy to Suffer Dishonor For the Name Summary: There are people in the world today who suffer greatly for their faith and love for Jesus. Godís people have always experienced some form of dishonor and rejection from the rest of the world - Jesus told us to expect it if we belong to Him! Today in Acts we will see this happening to the church, and yet they are not discouraged by it! They rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus! How can this be? Letís think about it more, and hopefully get a glimpse into the joy of knowing Jesus more: Outline: When we suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus, we should ask: 1. What shall we say? 2. Whom should we obey? 3. Where is our joy? Verse: Acts 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. Discussion Questions: 1. How is the church suffering here in Acts? How is it happening today in the world? In your own life? 2. What is Peterís sermon all about in this moment? Why is he always preaching this similar sermon? How can this help you when you face dishonor for Christ? 3. Are there any places in your life where you ďmust obey God rather than men?Ē How do you know when it is right to disobey the rulers over you? 4. Why are they rejoicing to be counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus? Why would that be a cause for joy for them, or for you?
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Acts 5:12-16 A Community of Power Summary: Todayís Bible passage from Acts is all about POWER. We use and need power all the time. But the power here in Acts is all about the power of GOD at work, Godís spiritual power to heal and save and strengthen His church. During these days God was doing powerful acts of healing and saving as part of growing His church. What does Godís power look like today in the church? Letís listen and find out: Outline: 1. The power of God to heal 2. The power of God to save 3. The power of God in persecution Verse: Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes... Discussion Questions: 1. What is the purpose of al the signs and wonders happening here in Acts? Should we expect God to work in the same way today? Why or why not? 2. What were the various responses to the power of God at work in this passage? How do you see those same responses today? Who is in your life who needs to hear the Gospel? 3. Why is it so tempting for us to backdown in the face of persecution? How does this passage give us confidence in our witness?
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Text: 2 Cor. 3 Title: Unveiled Faces 1. The Veil that Separated 2. The Veil was Lifted 3. Beholding God with Unveiled Faces 4. Living life with Freedom Questions How does the New Covenant surpass the Old Covenant? (Compare and Contrast them using the Apostle Paulís terms.) How do you still live like there is a veil that separates you from God? What things need to change in your life to allow you to live in freedom before God? To live generously with the Church and Others? To build humility into your life? To endure through suffering? Kids Bulletin Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see God? I think it would be one of the coolest things that could ever happen. In the Old Testament Moses got so see God, and his face glowed. It scared the people of Israel because they saw a reflection of the holiness of God. So, they told him to put a veil over his face because they saw the glory of God. When Jesus came he removed that veil from everyone who believes so that they can behold the glory of God. This Sunday, we are going to talk about how this changes everything! Memory Verse: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17)
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1 Kings 19:1-18 Title:
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God's children will receive eternal rewards. James 5 tells us what we should do to prepare for Jesus to return.
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Acts 5:1-11 You Donít Need to Pretend Summary: Sometimes it is fun to pretend. Some of our favorite games are the ones where we imagine we are someone else! Today in Acts 5 we will see two people who pretend, but it is not a game. Sadly Ananias and Sapphira lie to God and the apostles and pretend they are being more generous than they really are. The punishment is swift. But today we can know that the Gospel of Jesus frees our hearts from having to pretend! We cannot hide from God, and donít need to. God can set us free from our pride and greed and free us up to be truly generous. Letís think about it: Outline: 1. The danger: It is possible to pretendÖfor a time 2. The awesome truth: You cannot hide from God 3. The Gospel: Jesus can set you free from from hypocrisy and greed Verse: Luke 12:15 And he said to them, ďTake care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for oneís life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.Ē Discussion Questions: Spend a few minutes contrasting Barnabas with Ananias and Sapphira. What differences do you see? What hinders your own generosity the most? What fuels the generosity of the church in this account? (See especially 4:33) How can this help you? Make concrete plans to stir up your own and/or your family's generosity in 2017. ďIs your confidence in Godís grace mingled with a healthy fear of His holiness? Have the twin truths that he searches hearts and forgives the guilty set you free to drop the masks by which you have tried to enhance your image?Ē (Dennis Johnson, Let's Study Acts).
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Acts 4:32-37 A Loving Community Summary: What does it look like when Godís Spirit begins to shape an entire church? Today we will see how the Gospel and the Spirit at work shape us into a loving and generous community that shows the grace of God to the world. Letís pray today that God would continue this good work in us! Outline: The power of the Gospel in the community of faith should produce: 1. A profound love 2. A powerful testimony 3. A generous spirit Verse: Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Discussion Questions: What are the key characteristics of this community in Acts 4? What does it mean to be ďof one heart and soul?Ē Acts 5:4 shows us that they did not all sell every possession. So what might it mean that they had everything in common and did not believe their possessions were their own? What would that look like for you? What hinders your own generosity the most? What fuels the generosity of the church in this account? (See especially v. 33 - ďgreat graceÖ
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Acts 4:23-31 Pray for Gospel Boldness Summary: have you ever wondered why you should pray to God? Do you ever feel like he doesnít hear, or maybe doesnít even care? The disciples in Acts 4 were desperate. They had been threatened with punishment if they kept talking about Jesus! They may have been afraid. What do they do? They pray! The prayed because God is in control, even when He seems distant and the troubles seem big. Letís think about it more and learn to call on our powerful God: Outline: Because of Godís power and promises, we can pray: 1. With certainty, because all is under Godís sovereign plan 2. With courage, asking God for the strength to continue His mission 3. With expectation that God will answer Verse: Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Discussion questions: 1. How would you characterize your prayer life? Strong? Weak? Intermittent? Why do you think that is? 2. In their desperation, the disciples turned to God in prayer. What are the prominent features of their prayer? Why do they quote from Psalm 2? 3. How should Jesusí sovereign reign (see all of Psalm 2) help our prayers, especially when we face people who are against Christ? 4. How might God want to change your prayer life this week?
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Faith in God....Love of Family
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Faith in God....Love of Family
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John 8:31-36
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Mark 2:1-17 Son your sins are forgiven Summary: Jesus wonít be taken on our terms. He doesnít act in ways that are safe or that we expect. Jesus sees the needs of his people and acts in ways that are shocking but are best for those people. Jesus isnít tame. This Sunday we are going to hear about a miracle that Jesus did that was totally unexpected, he forgives and then heals. Jesus acts beyond all expectations! Outline: 1. Unexpected Declaration 2. Unexpected Miracle 3. Unexpected Call 4. Unexpected Community 5. Unexpected Results Memory Verse: 2:17b sounds great Discussion Questions: Why does Jesus forgive the paralyticís sins first and then heal his body? How did this confront the expectations of the people gathered? The text says that Jesus saw their faith, and then that Jesus perceived the scribes spirits. Why does Mark draw this contrast between these two groups? How does this passage change the way you look at those who suffer around you? How does it move you toward evangelism?
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Daniel 1
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Acts 4:1-22 We Cannot But Speak Summary: There are times in the Christian life when we will be treated badly because of our love for Jesus and witness for Him. That might take different forms: We may be laughed at, or people try to silence us. In some cases there can be real danger. Some Christians have been arrested or even killed for seeking to tell people about Jesus. But today letís learn from the book of Acts about such tough times. Even when people resist the truth of the Gospel, Godís Word is not imprisoned! Outline: 1. Have hope, because Godís Word is unchained 2. Have conviction, because Jesusí name is the only power for salvation 3. Have courage, because when hostility rises, we must obey God rather than men Verse: Acts 4:12 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.Ē Discussion Questions: 1. Where do you see opposition to the Gospel in the world? In your own sphere? When are you most tempted to remain silent instead of speak to people about the saving power of Jesus? 2. How does Peter speak about the exclusivity of the Gospel in his defense? (See 4:12). Why is this so hard for people to hear today? How can we speak with love and truth about this when people ask ďArenít there many sincere paths to heaven?Ē 3. How can this passage give you encouragement this week to speak about Jesus to people?
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Are You Afraid? - Romans 8:18-30
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