Sermon Notes

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Bible Study for Home Church – January 23, 2022

GREETINGS!

We would like to encourage you to take some time to read and look at the following scriptures and study points with your group during your time together.

Though we are intentionally meeting in separate homes, we are one in Christ; looking into His Word together, fellowshipping together, and lifting one another up in prayer.

HOUSE CHURCH BIBLE STUDY – Matthew 5:3-16

Read the passage together, discussing among yourselves the following teaching points either as you read the scripture, or following the reading of the scripture. These points are offered to assist in starting conversation amongst yourselves; use them however you choose to.

CONVERSATION STARTER STUDY POINTS

Introduction

Two Sundays ago, we looked at Jesus’ description of what the Kingdom of God is like. In His message to the people in Matthew 5, Jesus declared that though we will have trouble in this world, we are still blessed being that we belong to that Kingdom.

Using this passage from Matthew 5, discuss Jesus’ examples of trouble and sacrifice, and how they relate to you personally.

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Matthew 5:3 – Poor in Spirit – theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Question: What does ‘in Spirit’ mean, and how can we be ‘poor’ in it?

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Matthew 5:4 – Those who mourn – they will be comforted

Question: Discuss how being part of the Kingdom of God brings comfort to those who mourn?

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Matthew 5:5 – The Meek – they will inherit the earth

Question: Why would the meek inherit the earth??

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Matthew 5:6 – Hunger and thirst for righteousness – They will be filled

Question: What are we hungering for, when we hunger for righteousness?

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Matthew 5:7 – The Merciful – They will be shown mercy

Question: Do you struggle to show mercy?

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Matthew 5:8 – Pure in Heart – They will see God

Question: How can we be pure in heart, when we live in an impure world?

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Matthew 5:9 – Peacemakers – They will be called children of God

Question: Where is the line (and is there a line) that separates keeping the peace, from speaking up to defend what your beliefs are?

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Matthew 5:10-12 – Persecuted because of righteousness – Theirs is Kingdom of Heaven;

Question: We have suffered so little persecution in our part of the world, but the little we have endured, are we able to ‘rejoice and be glad’, feeling ‘blessed’, or do we react in some other way?

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Matthew 5:13-15 – You are the Salt and the Light of the earth… Shine!

Our responses to the trouble we face in this world, and our ability to endure it, is greatly influenced by our understanding of our citizenship in the Kingdom of God;

The more we grasp that though we live in this world, we are not of this world… the more we can experience blessing in the face of trial or even persecution.

This world is not our home. Here, we are ambassadors of another Kingdom, who are salt and light in this world in order to point others to the Kingdom of God.

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PRAYER POINT: Lord, help me to seize the truth that my home is not here. Like the Israelites were not to adopt the ways of the people in the promised land they were coming into, we are not to become so enamoured with the things of this world, that we forget the Kingdom of God.

Help me Lord, to be salt and light here, even in the face of trouble. In those moments, remind me of the future in have in you; let me turn my eyes upon you in those trials, and rejoice and be glad because nothing can happen to me that can dim the promise of the eternal glory in Your Kingdom that awaits me.

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GOD BLESS your households as we take these last Sundays of each month to learn new ways of worshipping, fellowshipping, and creating opportunities to reach those who either cannot, or will not attend a regular church service.

Bible Study for Home Church – November 28, 2021

GREETINGS!

We would like to encourage you to take some time to read and look at the following scriptures and study points with your group during your time together.

Though we are intentionally meeting in separate homes, we are one in Christ; looking into His Word together, fellowshipping together, and lifting one another up in prayer.

HOUSE CHURCH BIBLE STUDY – Acts 10:1-23a

Read the passage together, discussing among yourselves the following teaching points either as you read the scripture, or following the reading of the scripture. These points are offered to assist in starting conversation amongst yourselves; use them however you choose to. If you desire more, please continue with Acts 10:23b-48.

CONVERSATION STARTER STUDY POINTS

Acts 10:1

Point: Cornelius; Roman Centurion in Caesarea Maritima. Italian Regiment.

Question:     What do these facts alone tell us about who Cornelius was?

* Notes:

  • Cornelius is a Latin Name.
  • Caesarea Maritima (Palistinea) was a coastal city in Judea rebuilt by King Herod the Great and named in honour of Caesar Augustus.
  • Italian Regiment, like most Roman ‘Centuries’ (military units of 80 legionnaire plus support staff), the Italian Regiment would have been made up of primarily volunteer soldiers.       

Acts 10:2

Point: Cornelius and his family were devout and God-fearing, yet the Holy Spirit arranged it so Peter would come to them and speak about Jesus.

Question: What does this tell us about the nature of Cornelius’ understanding of faith?

Acts 10:3-6

Point: It is interesting that the angel begins with an almost unrelated message, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”

Question: Why do you think God wanted Cornelius to hear that, before He gave him instruction to seek out Peter at Simon the Tanner’s house?

Acts 10:7-8

Point: An informative piece of the angel’s instruction is for Cornelius to send men to Joppa, instead of Cornelius going himself.

Question: This lends itself to showing us that God is well aware of our situation, and often works within its boundaries. What about Cornelius’ situation would have made it difficult for him to go himself?

Acts 10:9-13

Point: God’s timing is wonderous. As the three men from Cornelius were approaching the city, Peter has the vision from the Lord.

Question: What examples do you have of how God’s timing was as miraculous as the event or encounter itself?

Point: It is notable that Acts records that Peter was hungry before he has a vision about eating.  Many times, Jesus used what was around him to teach a lesson.

Question: Do you find this to be an effective way of presenting a message?  And, can you give an example of how either God taught you something in this manner, or how you taught someone else in this manner?

Acts 10:13-15

Point: Try to understand how monumentous this moment is for Peter. All his life, Peter had grown up with the belief that eating impure or unclean foods was wrong (even the Law of Moses taught this). Now, here, three times (v.16) he argues and is then corrected with, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

To add to his bewilderment, it appears that Peter recognizes who it is that is giving him a message through the angel, as he responds, “Surely not, Lord!”

Question: Talk for a moment on how you think Peter must have been feeling at this point. Can you compare it to any longstanding belief that you might have had in which Jesus had to confront in you?

Point: Some scholars point to this scripture in attempts to validate a theological standpoint that God was foreshadowing that the Law was about to be replaced by grace.

Question: Do you believe that this was the intention here ?

Acts 10:16-20

Point: Three times God admonishes Peter to not call anything unclean which he has made clean. Then, three Gentiles show up on his doorstep.

Question: Do you think that might have been intentional?

Acts 10:23

Point: “Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.”

This is a pivotal point in the history of the church.

One of the most interesting phrases in this passage is verse 11, where Peter sees “Heaven opened…” Prior to this, you could say heaven was ‘not open’; rather it was ‘exclusive’, first to the Jew (or those who made themselves Jewish through ceremony), and then to the Samaritans (Acts 8).

But now, heaven was being made ‘open’ to the Gentiles. This ‘reality’ was later confirmed by the events of verses 44-48, where the Holy Spirit fell on these Gentiles, affirming to Peter that, “God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right (vs.34-35).”

Question: Would you admit that you have had some pre-conceived notions about who God would accept? Consider how difficult, and courageous it must have been for Peter to set aside his long-standing beliefs and prejudices in order to both accept and embrace this truth God was showing him, even at cost to himself and his reputation. Who is God speaking to you about right now that you find difficult to believe that God could, or even would, call to Himself?

Recognize that this passage involves an angel of God, a vision from God, and the Spirit of God. We can have the same courage as Peter, and ability to see others as God sees them, THROUGH the presence and involvement of God in our lives. We will struggle to do it in our own strength.   

PRAYER POINT: Lord, do not let my limited understanding of you and your ways, or my prejudices, blind me from what grand plans you have for the world. Let me be obedient to your instruction at whatever cost to me or my reputation.

 

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GOD BLESS your households as we take these last Sundays of each month to learn new ways of worshipping, fellowshipping, and creating opportunities to reach those who either cannot, or will not attend a regular church service.

Bible Study for Home Church October 31, 2021

GREETINGS!

We would like to encourage you to take some time to read and look at the following scriptures and study points with your group during your time together.

Though we are intentionally meeting in separate homes, we are one in Christ; looking into His Word together, fellowshipping together, and lifting one another up in prayer.

HOUSE CHURCH BIBLE STUDY – Acts 4:1-22

Read the passage together, discussing among yourselves the following teaching points either as you read the scripture, or following the reading of the scripture. These points are offered to assist in starting conversation amongst yourselves; use them however you choose to. If you desire more, please continue with Acts 4:23-31, and/or Acts 4:32-37.

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CONVERSATION STARTER STUDY POINTS

Acts 4:2

Point: They were disturbed because they preached that in Jesus, there was resurrection from the dead. 

Question: Why do you think resurrection was the point that made them upset?

Acts 4:7

Point: They questioned them by asking, “By what power, or what name did you do this?”  This is connected to Acts 4:14. “But because they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.”

If they could not deny the evidence, they could only question the source.

Question: Have we ever questioned the source because something did not fit into our theology? How do we reconcile that discrepancy?

Acts 4:8

Point: Peter is recorded as, “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Question: Do you think it is coincidental that Luke records this right after the rulers, elders, and teachers of the Law asked, “By what power…?”

Acts 4:9

Point: Peter’s response is understandable; “If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness…”  One can almost see the look of confusion on Peter’s face as he tried to grasp why these leaders were so opposed to what had happened. Someone, lame from birth, just was miraculously healed.

Question: What do you think the motivations or reasons were for the leader’s opposition?

Acts 4:10

Point: Peter responds to their question with, “It is by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… that this man stands before you healed.” And then Peter turns it into a teaching point.

Question: Is declaring something, “In the Name of Jesus Christ” an authoritative mantra to be spoken? Or is it more than that?

Also, opposition sometimes opens the door to create a platform for proclamation where there was only silence. Have you any examples of where you were able to ‘proclaim’ in the midst of opposition coming against you?

Acts 4:13

Point: The leaders ‘saw the courage’ of Peter and John, and were astonished. They took note that these men had been with Jesus. ‘Being with Jesus’ seems to present itself with courage and boldness.

Question: Consider Acts 4:31. What does this tell us how we can ‘be with Jesus’ and witness similar fruit in our daily life?

Acts 4:16

Point: “What are we going to do with these men?” They were frustrated, because the evidence was undeniable, and spoke volumes to the people, and they feared it would continue to spread. Sadly, the question of society today is not, “What are we going to do with these men?” but instead, “What men?”

Question: The modern church, in many sectors of society, is largely invisible or barely tolerated. The ‘undeniable evidence’ that makes leaders wonder ‘what they are to do with us’, is difficult to come by. Is the problem that there is actually not much evidence, or is the problem that the evidence is not being ‘sent’ into the world?

Also, when there is real, tangible evidence, society becomes frustrated and tries to find ways to ‘shut us up.” How do we, or should we respond to that?

Acts 4:19-20

Point: Peter and John’s response to that was two-fold; “Which is right in God’s eyes; to listen to you, or to Him?” and, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Question: Have we ever wavered between doing what we know God would want, and what we know society would ask of us?” What was the result of that ‘wavering’?

Also, it is hard to speak about what we have seen and heard, if we have not seen or heard much. How do we go about correcting this?

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GOD BLESS your households as we take these last Sundays of each month to learn new ways of worshipping, fellowshipping, and creating opportunities to reach those who either cannot, or will not attend a regular church service.