Church and Religion
Luke 14:15-24 -
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John 7:37-39 Living Water Summary: Do you know what is like to be true thirsty - even dehydrated? It happened to me once - I got sick (a lot!) and ended up in the hospital. It wasnít fun! In John 7 Jesus is at a great Jewish feast (the Feast of Booths), and says ďIf anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drinkÖĒ What did he mean? We are all spiritually thirsty people, and Jesus himself promises us Living Water so our spiritual thirst can be satisfied. But what does that mean? Letís listen in and see: 1. A universal thirst 2. A river of Living Water Verse: John 7:37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ďIf anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Discussion questions: 1. Why does Jesus say ďif anyone is thirsty?Ē What are the things in this world that you hunger and thirst for other than God? 2. What does Jesus mean when he promises a river of living water coming out of our hearts? 2. How does Jesus fulfill the spiritual hunger and thirst in all of us? (Read also John 4:7-14, 6:35). How can you drink deeply from this fountain in 2018?
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Sermon Text: John 13:1 Sermon Title: Immeasurable Love Points 1. Immeasurable Love 2. Unending Love 3. The gift of Love Summary: What do you want for Christmas? You may want a video game, or some clothes, a book or if you are like me just some time with your family. We are all looking forward to opening our gifts and feeling the love that comes with gift giving. This Sunday we will hear about the best gift of all time, the never ending love that Jesus has for us. This love moved Jesus to be borne as a man so that he could die for us and it should move us to love one another. Memory Verse: John 13:1b Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. Question: How do you see Jesusí love for you this Christmas season? How can you show Jesusí love to others this Christmas season?
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Acts 14 Suffering and Fruit Summary: In the days of the Apostle Paul, sharing the Gospel of Jesus was often dangerous business. Today we see in Acts 14 how he was violently opposed and his enemies tried to kill him by stoning him (a terrible way to die!). But Paul survived and boldly continue to tell of Godís grace. There are still places in the world where it is dangerous to be a Christian. But even when we arenít in danger like that, we should still ask: How can God give me courage and use even my suffering to share Jesus with the world? Outline: You can have courage and even willingness to suffer for Christ, because He suffered before you, and promises to build His church through you. 1. Proclaim the Gospel 2. Share in the sufferings of Christ 3. Trust Godís care for His church Verse: Acts 14:22bÖ
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Acts 13:13-52 Preaching Christ Summary: Today we get to listen in on Paul the Apostle as he tells the good news of Jesus to a group of people. We need to hear the good news of Jesus dying and rising to forgive our sins, just like they did! Letís listen in and hear again of all that God has done to save us. Outline: To reach people for Christ, Paul preached: 1. The history: God promised a Savior would come 2. The focus: Jesus died and rose to justify us before God 3. The call: do not reject Godís Messiah 4. The response: God is calling some, while others walk away Verse: Acts 13:23 Of this manís offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. Discussion questions: 1. What would you want to include in any presentation of the Gospel that you give? Why? What did Paul see as vital? 2. How does Paul show that salvation is by grace and not by works in this sermon? 3. Why does Luke tell us that ďas many as were appointed too eternal life believedĒ? Why is that important for our evangelism? Who can you pray for and speak to about the Gospel this week?
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Acts 13:1-12 The First Missionary Journey Summary: Our church sends and supports many missionaries around the world. It is exciting to be part of Godís mission to reach the whole world for Christ! Today we will see the very first missionaries sent out from the church in Acts 13. Letís look and see how God calls missionaries, and how he saves people through their labors: The point today: Our great Savior Jesus calls missionaries by His Spirit, through the church, to bring the nations to Himself. Outline: 1. Godís missionary call - The Spirit and the church 2. Godís superior power: The Master vs. the magician Verse: Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ďSet apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.Ē Discussion Questions: 1. Have you ever felt an inward call to missions? Have you ever prayed and asked God for direction on how to be involved in His missionary work around the world? 2. How were Saul and Barnabas called and sent off to their missionary work? How should that influence how NCPC does missions? 3. How does Godís power triumph over Satanís power in Elymas the magician? What do we see in this passage that helps us understand the Gospel more?
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A Tale of Three Angels Acts 12 Summary: Today I want you to imagine being in prison like Peter, and being met in the night and rescued by one of Godís mighty angels. What a night that must have been! Peter was in prison for preaching about Jesus, but God cannot be stopped! Letís listen to this powerful story and see why Godís power is still unstoppable today. Outline 1. The angel of mercy 2. The unexpected angel 3. The angel of death Verse: Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Discussion questions: 1. Peter was delivered from death at the eleventh hour. How could that powerful rescue from God encourage you today? 2. Why do you think the disciples were so surprised to see Peter? How might we pray for things and then be shocked when God answers? 3. The deliverance of Peter and the judgment upon Herod are both powerful testimonies to Godís unstoppable purpose and care for His church. Where do you see the evidence of that today in the church? In your own life?
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Gladness and Grace in Godís Global Work Acts 11:19-30 Summary: Today we get to hear more in Acts about the Gospel coming to new cities, this time a place called Antioch. Weíll see a faithful God saving people, and sending servants like Barnabas and Saul to teach them. This is the first city where believers in Jesus were called Christians! Letís listen in and hear about Godís great work: Outline: 1. A faithful God 2. A faithful servant 3. A faithful people Verse: Acts 11:26b ...For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Discussion questions: 1. How is Godís faithful hand at work in different ways in this passage? How did God bring the Gospel to them? How do you see him at work in our city? 2. How does Luke describe Barnabas? How did God use him in Antioch? Why might this be significant for us? 3. How did the Gospel shape these new Christians in Antioch? What are the effects of Jesusí work in them?
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Jesus Is Born
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Do Not Stand in Godís Way! Acts 11:1-18 Summary: Today we learn how Godís free grace in salvation should change us. His grace saves, His grace brings people together, and His grace should make us praise Him. Today, listen to how God gives His grace to people from all different cultures: Outline: 1. Godís free grace among the nations should break down barriers between people 2. Godís free grace among the nations should fuel our worship Verse: Acts 13:47 ...I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Discussion questions: 1. How do you see God moving in the world today? How might you be tempted to be critical or make judgments about other groups who are sharing the Gospel? What dangers should we guard against here? 2. How was God breaking down barriers between people in this passage? What might it have been like for new Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians to develop fellowship in those early days? How might we also encounter similar struggles or joys today? 3. How should this account lead us to understand the free grace of the Gospel better? (see esp vv 17-18) How should it shape our worship?
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Acts 10 God Shows No PartialityÖand Neither Should We (AKA Bacon Sandwiches and Global Fellowship... :) Summary: Have you ever been tempted to avoid someone just because they were so different from you? Sometimes it is hard to be friends with people who come from a different culture or background. But we have to be careful not to look down on someone else just because they are not like us. Today we will see how Jesusí perfect sacrifice breaks down all the barriers between people and creates one Body in Him. Listen today to the story of Cornelius, an unlikely person whom God saved by His grace: Outline: 1. Examine your heart: Do not call common what God has made clean 2. Prepare to GO: God is drawing people to Himself from the nations 3. Believe in Jesus: He is the true cleansing for ALL people 4. Rejoice at Godís work: The Holy Spirit makes us one body Verse: Acts 10:43b
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Acts 9:19-31 Counting the Cost in a New Life Summary: Have you ever started something new? A new school, a new neighborhood, or a new city? Every time we start over or start something new, it comes with new fears and struggles, but also new joys and adventures. Saul (Paul) in Acts 9 begins a whole new life as a Christian. For him all the zeal to punish Christians becomes zeal to tell people about Jesus and His Gospel! But it also comes with new struggles. Letís think about how our life as Christians is like this: Outline: 1. The new life brings a new calling 2. The new life brings new suffering 3. The new life brings a new family Verse: 2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecutedÖ Discussion Questions: 1. How does Saulís life radically change after the Damascus road experience? How would you describe his new calling? What is the calling you have as a Christian and how is it similar or different? 2. How did Saul suffer in these early days as a Christian? How can you be prepared to suffer for Christ in our day? Where have you experienced it? How has the prospect of suffering for Christ affected your actions as a Christian? 3. How does Saul press in to be part of the family of God in his first days as Christian? Are you seeking to ďlive in communityĒ at NCPC? Why or why not?
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Acts 9:1-19 Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners Summary: Do you know and pray for someone who is not a Christian? Do you ever wonder if God will ever break through and save them? Many people might have doubted that the Apostle Paul would ever come to faith in Jesus. But Godís sovereign grace and power can break through to reach anyone! Today we get to see Jesus powerfully meet Saul (Paul) with His grace. And it shows us that no one is beyond Godís power to save! Outline: 1. Radical rebellion 2. Sovereign grace 3. Total transformation Verse: 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Discussion questions: 1. How would you describe Paul before Jesus met him on the road to Damascus? How would you describe your own life before Christ? 2. How does God break through to bring Paul to himself? Though we might not be struck blind and hear Jesus audibly, how does this passage help us understand Godís sovereign grace in salvation? How did he meet you? 3. Who is in your life that God has not yet saved? Have you possibly lost hope that God would reach them? How can this passage give you hope? How can you begin or renew pray for the lost in your life?
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Acts 8:26-40 The Good News About Jesus Summary: Today, take a look around at church and see all there people from different backgrounds and cultures. Everyone has a unique story. It is beautiful to see God drawing people to Himself from many backgrounds! Today letís listen to Acts 8 as Philip brings the Good News about Jesus to a new culture - a man from Ethiopia. God can also use you to tell people about Jesus! Outline: 1. When sharing the Gospel, follow Godís call to the nations 2. When sharing the Gospel, look for Jesus in every part of the Bible 3. When sharing the Gospel, give the good news of Jesusí death and resurrection Verse: Acts 8:32 Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. Discussion Questions: 1. What does this passage show us about Godís heart for the nations? For those who may feel like they are too far from God to receive grace? Do you feel that way, or do you know someone who feels that way? 2. How should Philipís use of the Scriptures show us how to read the Bible in a Christ centered way? What does Isaiah 53 shows us about Christ that is so crucial to sharing the Gospel? 3. Who can you begin to pray for and seek to share the Gospel with this week? How can this passage guide your evangelism? Consider sharing this with your group to pray and hold you accountable.
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Acts 8:5-25 You Canít Buy Godís Power Summary: Have you ever wanted to be popular or liked by others? Has it ever led you to do something you should not? Today we learn about a man in the Bible named Simon who loved the praise of people. He did magic and people were amazed by him. But when real power from God was shown through a man named Philip, it revealed Simonís heart- he wanted the praise of people more than he wanted Jesus! Letís think about it more: Outline: 1. Stand in awe of God and His power 2. Beware of the temptation to use God to pursue our own greatness 3. Attempt great things for God, to bring glory to God Verse: Psalm 62:11-12a 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. Discussion Questions: 1. How was Simon tempted to buy Godís power? What did that reveal about his spiritual condition? How might we be tempted to control or manipulate God for our own benefit? 2. How was Simon corrupted by a pursuit of power? What might the desire for power, greatness or influence be dangerous for you? 3. How we might be amazed and taken in by supernatural experience more than amazed by Jesus and the glory of His grace?
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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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