|Simple Mission||Rusty Wirt||December 2, 2018||Listen|
|Simple Acceptance||Rusty Wirt||December 9, 2018||Listen|
12.02 – Simple Mission
TALK IT OUT
1. Over the years since Jesus’ birth, the Christmas season has definitely become much more complicated. What stresses and pressures do you personally feel during the Christmas season? How does that tend to affect your overall Christmas experience?
2. Read Luke 4:16-18. Some would mistakenly say that Jesus was a religious rebel who came to overthrow every custom and tradition of the past. In this passage, what customs or traditions do we see Jesus observing? Do you think these practices are still relevant for us today? Why or why not?
3. Read Isaiah 9:6-7,11:1-5,42:1-4 and 61:1-3. Through prophecies such as these, God foretold to the Jewish people the coming of a Messiah who would be both a Conquering King and a Suffering Servant that would bring salvation to all people. But over time and after centuries of foreign oppression, the majority of Jews lost sight of the big picture and began to see the Messiah exclusively as a national political figure who would deliver them from their immediate physical circumstances. Read Matthew 11:2-3, John 6:14-15 and Matthew 16:21-23. In these passages, how did misperceptions about the Messiah’s ministry hinder people’s relationship with Jesus? Have any misperceptions about Jesus’ ministry ever hindered your relationship with Him? How?
4. Read Luke 4:18-19. These verses reveal the heart of God for hurting people. Although some of us will never experience these particular challenges physically, we all experience them in a spiritual sense. Describe some ways in which Jesus has ministered to you personally in the above ways, either physically or spiritually.
5. In this week’s sermon, Pastor Rusty referred to the inside and outside parts of Jesus’ mission. He reminded us that Jesus works with those inside the faith to reach those outside the faith. What does that simple mission statement mean to you? How does it affect your daily interactions with those around you?
LIVE IT OUT
1. Would you currently describe yourself as inside the faith, on the fringe of faith, or outside the faith? What would you say is an appropriate next step for you in light of this week’s sermon?
2. Name someone you know who is poor, a prisoner, blind or oppressed (either physically or spiritually). Take a few moments right now to pray for that person and ask God to show you a way to reach out to them this week.
12.09 – Simple Acceptance
TALK IT OUT
1. The genealogy recorded in Matthew 1:1-6 provides evidence that Jesus’ family tree was connected to King David. Read 2 Samuel 7:16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Jeremiah 23:5 and Ezekiel 37:24-25. Why was it important that Jesus’ natural lineage included King David?
2. In Jewish society, there were clear distinctions in the status of Jew vs Gentile and men vs women. Interestingly, the portion of Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-6 names four women (in itself highly unusual for a Jewish genealogy) – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) – all of whom were likely also Gentiles. Read Romans 10:11-13, Galatians 3:26-28 and Ephesians 2:11-13. What do these passages tell us about who is included in Jesus’ mission?
3. Matthew 1:21 indicates that the very name Jesus reveals His purpose for coming: to save us from our sins. Read Romans 3:9-12,23 and Ephesians 2:1-5. Why do we even need to be saved?
4. Read Matthew 1:22-23. How does it make you feel to know that God came to earth to be with us?
5. One of the most encouraging things about the Bible is that it is full of stories of imperfect people who often lived messy lives, yet God still loved them and was able to transform them by His grace and mercy. Read John 3:16-17, Isaiah 43:25 and 2 Corinthians 5:16-19. What do these passages say to those who feel that they or their families have messed up too much for God to ever be able to love them or use them in any way?
LIVE IT OUT
1. Think about the “bad branches” of your family tree. Set aside time this week to pray for those individuals and then look for opportunities to step into their mess and share the love of Jesus with them in a practical way.
2. Pause for a few moments right now to remind yourself that God is with you. Let that sink in. Repeat this process several times throughout the day and this week.