Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Up Your Game
Week 2: Authentic Reproductions
- Lent is the 40 days (plus 6 Sundays) leading up to Easter that starts on Ash Wednesday. It’s a time to prepare your heart for Easter. Before celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at Easter, it’s good to first take time to acknowledge the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Lent is not prescribed in the Bible, but it is a tradition that the Church developed to help Christ-followers grow in their understanding and gratitude of all that Jesus sacrificed and suffered in order that we could have salvation.
Pastor Dale described two ways that Christians have traditionally observed Lent:
- Penitent Observances: During Lent, some people choose to give up something to help them remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us. We call this practice “fasting.” Other penitent observances include confession, solitude and the imposition of ashes.
- Focusing on the servant-heart of Jesus: This is represented today on our altar by a basin and a towel, which remind us of how Jesus humbled himself like a servant and washed his disciples’ feet.
How would you define Christian servanthood?
- Paul wrote the book of Philippians from prison, yet it is one of the most joy-filled letters in the Bible. What makes it possible for a person to be content and even joyful in a circumstance like that?
- Read Philippians 2:1-11:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What thoughts or questions come to your mind out of this passage?
- Bill Hybels in his book Descending into Greatness said: “Philippians 2 may be the most counter-cultural chapters in the Bible.” What did he mean by that?
- Our Celebrate Recovery ministry on Monday nights at 7:00 p.m. offers tools that help us get out of unhealthy habits we are stuck in. One of the verses we use on Monday nights is;
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
Have you built into your life a regular plan for “examining your ways”? If so, describe how you do that.
The Two things required to “live down”:
- A Purpose Bigger Than Ourselves
Paul describes his life purpose in Philippians 1:21:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
- Describe your life purpose. Be honest about what you find yourself living for, intentionally or unintentionally?
- Bob Dylan, on his album Slow Train Coming, sings a song called “Gotta Serve Somebody”. What does he mean by that?
- Ellsworth Kalas wrote a book called The Grand Sweep, 365 Days from Genesis through Revelation. He was one of Pastor Dale’s professors, and even though he was a well-known author and theologian, he never stopped being humble and open to learn from others. Dr. Kalas said that what really reveals whether you want to serve the Lord are the many little choices you make each day. Describe some of the small daily choices a person will make, if their heart is fully committed to serving the Lord.
- A Pattern that Denies Ourselves
Pastor Dale compared some general qualities of humanity with qualities we see in Jesus Christ. Describe what you notice, when you compare humanity’s general tendencies with the qualities that we see in Jesus.
- Read Philippians 2:2:
….then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
What is Paul’s point here, and how can we life it out?