Happy Monday, Grace family! Who loved Pastor Mike’s weightlifting illustration yesterday? Praise God that the Strong Man is ever-present, and we are never truly in danger! If you missed our online worship experience, you can worship along today by clicking here.
Yesterday we concluded our series on the beatitudes by studying Jesus’ promise to the persecuted. Let’s dig into more of Jesus’ teaching about persecution and abiding faith in John 15.
Read John 15:1-8
- Draw a picture of a vine and branches. Label each element of the analogy accordingly: Jesus, you, God the Father, and the Word of God (see verse 7).
- Reread verses 1-2. What are some ways God is “pruning” you in this season? How might this pruning produce fruitfulness in your life?
- There are really only two responsibilities for the believer in these verses. What are they? (see verse 7) What are some practical steps you could take to abide in Christ and to ensure that His Word abides in you?
Read John 15:9-17
- Make a list of everything these verses teach us about God. (For instance, what is He like? What does He value? How does He view us? etc.)
- How do we abide in God’s love based on verse 10?
- Yesterday, Pastor Mike talked about the value of keeping God’s commands by explaining that there is a distinction between suffering because of righteousness and suffering because of foolishness. Is there an area in your life where you are tempted to make a foolish choice? How could you take a next step toward Christ and away from sin?
Read John 15:18-26
- Focus on verses 18-19. Would you describe yourself as someone who is “of the world” or “not of the world”? Why?
- How has pandemic and economic uncertainty revealed sin in your life? Has it taught you anything surprising about your love of the world or where you seek security?
- In verse 26 Jesus talks about the Helper, the Holy Spirit of truth. Flip over one chapter and read John 16:7-15. List 3 things the Holy Spirit does.
- Close in prayer:
- Confess the specific sin that has surfaced in your life during this season. Praise Jesus that you are saved entirely by His grace alone.
- Ask for faithfulness to choose righteousness in the face of fiery ordeals.
- Cast your specific cares and concerns on Jesus (I Peter 5:7).
- Thank Him for the joy of abiding in His love.
Grace Communities: Sermon Discussion Questions
- How providential to be discussing fiery ordeals in a season when we have been unable to gather physically. How have the last two weeks given you insight into the experience of persecuted believers around the world who cannot gather for corporate worship? Has your appreciation for the church deepened? Explain.
- Have you ever suffered because of righteousness? How did you experience “makarios” (forever happiness) in the face of suffering? Have you ever suffered as a result of a foolish or sinful choice? As Christians, why do we have hope even if our suffering is the result of sin?
- In his sermon, Pastor Mike told a story about working out with his personal trainer and feeling momentarily crushed by a heavy weight. What is the heaviest “weight” in your life right now? Do you believe God is in control in this area? Why or why not?
- This Sunday we were issued the challenge to “get out of our heads and focus on others.” What are some practical ways we can do that?
- What has encouraged you the most in our study on the beatitudes? What has challenged or convicted you?
GraceStudents 5th/6th Grade
Word of the Week—Persecution
Persecution means being treated badly. It’s a little different than plain old suffering. For instance, it would be really sad if your goldfish died or your best friend moved away, but those aren’t examples of persecution.
Persecution is poor treatment because you follow Jesus. Have kids at school ever made fun of you because you wouldn’t participate in something wrong? Have you ever been teased because “You’re so sheltered” or “You won’t share your test answers with me? Lame!” Those are examples of persecution. But guess what? Jesus promises that everyone who is mistreated because of Him will be greatly rewarded in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).
When we stand up for Jesus by choosing to do the right thing no matter what it costs us, Jesus is honored by our faith, and He will reward it! Ask God to give you the courage to stand up for Him, no matter what.
GraceStudents (7-12 Grades)
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